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Responsible Dairy Event Influences North Island Producers

17 January 2014

NEW ZEALAND – Water quality and business management are hot topics in the dairy sector following Dairy New Zealand’s annual farmer-led forum in environmental leadership.

The event, Dairy Environment Leader’s Forum, was held in Wellington in December and has prompted a promising response from member so the farming community.

Titled ‘Dairy Leading Change: from Limits to Opportunities’, the programme is part of an industry strategy to action sustainability plans.

Shayne and Charmaine O’Shea make up a brother sister partnership who became farming advocates after winning the Balance Farm Awards in 2013.

Mr O’Shea is concerned about the image farming has and public perception.

“We are showing that dairying can be sustainable while supporting our industry at the same time,” said Shayne. "We want to turn this into an opportunity and be proud of farming on a busy road.”

Shayne is also a representative for a group that is aiming to enhance the quality of the Mangere Stream in the north of the North Island.

“We all need to take ownership of the issues and apply solutions on our own land," stated Mr O’Shea."The Dairy Environment Leaders Forum helped to build on ideas and enhance the knowledge and communication skills we need for the challenges facing our industry."

Catchment Engagement Leader for DairyNZ in Whangarei, Helen Moodie, says “the forum sought to inspire and motivate farmers to work together to ensure that environmental stewardship is part of day to day farm management on every dairy farm."

The 55 farmers participating shared their thoughts on how the dairy industry shapes its response to sustainability challenges and heard from speakers such as Sir Ray Avery.

"The aim of the forum wasn’t to tell these people how to run their farms because they are doing a great job of that already," says Helen. "Instead it’s all about looking at the big picture of financial, environmental and social sustainability, with the goal of capturing the talent of these farmers to lead change as active regional champions."


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