A dairy industry that is environmentally responsible and economically sustainable has a critical role to play in New Zealand’s future prosperity and wellbeing says Federated Farmers.
The country’s most important export sector is resetting its goals and aspirations with the Dairy Tomorrow strategy launch.
It builds on the previous 2013 -2020 Strategy for Sustainable Dairy Farming and its significant achievements over the past four years, says Chris Lewis, Federated Farmers Dairy Industry Chair.
"Dairy has so many attributes. It’s not all about economic returns either. Our products are locally and globally recognised for their quality and nutritional value.
"The sector’s future challenge is to reaffirm that our production and value chains are sustainable, and do meet the expectations of all consumers and communities."
Chris believes the dairy sector should be considered part of the national identity and something to celebrate, where all New Zealanders can relate to the products and what has gone into making them.
"Our industry is progressive and innovative and we want to spread that success to those who work in the sector and share the story with consumers and their communities."
A key aspect of the Dairy Tomorrow strategy is willingness for greater engagement and transparency with fellow industry, government and those non-related agriculture entities.
"As a trusted food producer we want to strive to be the best. We want to work with others who share the same vision and develop solutions which suit their local needs and conditions.
"This approach will present new opportunities, which will be beneficial for the whole sector and wider society as we adjust and respond to meet the coming challenges.
"Throughout the country there are thousands of men and women in the dairy value chain who have much to offer in terms of the bigger picture. Dairy Tomorrow is about engaging them and providing influence and guidance to maximise their farming operations.
"It’s also about taking care of those people, making a job in our industry an attractive career option and the Workplace Action Plan is delivering on that already."
Chris says the refreshed strategy builds on the progress made with addressing environmental issues and animal welfare.
And, is especially ready to tackle the perception that the dairy sector has no social conscience and lacks accountability towards its activities.
"We have to show that small part of society who believes this, that we do care and are responsible."
There will be frequent reports and public disclosure on the strategy’s progress and the opportunity for feedback and prioritising.
"These goals come in all shapes and forms. Some will happen immediately others are aspirational and long-term. The key to Dairy Tomorrow is people and understanding their perspectives and values.
"Being a country dependent on exports we are entering a pivotal time. The market place is more competitive and volatile than ever, we need to stay together and acknowledge we all want the best for our country and, that the dairy industry has a big part to play," says Chris.