Federated Farmers Spur on Dairy

NEW ZEALAND - “Given the world needs to eat, the fundamentals are all there for a highly profitable dairy industry. The key is for the industry to work together to ensure it remains lucrative under the current economic climate,” says Lachlan McKenzie, Federated Farmers Dairy chairman.
calendar icon 26 February 2009
clock icon 2 minute read

“Ultimately, it boils down to just one group that has the ability to make this happen and that’s the farmers themselves. While there are many challenges, dairy farmers back themselves to continue to make progress for the country through these uncertain times. This is a key theme to emerge from the Federated Farmers Dairy Council meeting over the past two days.

“Dairy farming is vital to the success of New Zealand’s economy and society. Although the payout is down about $3 billion this year, dairy export receipts still contribute $6.3 billion to the economy, which is no small cheese. Along with the thousands of jobs that dairying creates, if New Zealand is to get through the current recession, we need more export dollars and dairy will deliver just that.

“Currently dairy farmers have concerns regarding ongoing profitability. The Federation continues to highlight concerns over both on farm and off farm costs. Increased on farm input costs and the extra taxes masquerading as environmental policies need to be kept under control. The Federation’s current campaign focussing on overdraft interest rates needs to continue to bear fruit and bring interest rates in line with the cut in the OCR.

“The Government must fundamentally re-evaluate the impact that an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) scheme will have on the international competitiveness of dairy based exports. We need to continue to focus on those policies that will enable us to continue to farm for generations.

“Undertaking an independent review of Fonterra’s auction platform, globalDairytrade, is important to ensure it is a credible solution in the minds of members. Representing the interests of non-Fonterra members to ensure their cooperatives and companies behave as they ought to and asking the tough questions, as we are with Westland, is also necessary.

“It is pleasing to see increased involvement by upcoming farmers in the Federation. Federated Farmers is seen as the first port of call for farmers, as it has the policy depth and freedom of action to lobby and champion many of the issues confronting the dairy industry. By working collegially with other dairy sector groups, Federated Farmers can make sure these issues are properly resolved in the interests of farmers,” Mr McKenzie concluded.

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