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Warning To Prepare For End Of The Golden Weather

27 June 2000 PR59/2000

DAIRY FARMERS WARNED TO PREPARE FOR END OF THE GOLDEN WEATHER

New Zealand's top dairy farmer leader today likened dairy farmers to being in the eye of a storm. Addressing the Dairy Farmers of New Zealand Annual Conference, Chairman Charlie Pedersen said other nations' dairy farmers held outstanding admiration for the New Zealand dairy industry. Key to that admiration is the performance of the farmer-owned marketing organisation - the New Zealand Dairy Board.

"The world's dairy markets are so tough that New Zealand dairy farmers have to be constantly close to or at the world's best practice, from cow to customer, to survive as the world's only non-subsidised dairy farmers," said Mr Pedersen.

"Currently, the NZDB's much-admired performance has an environment of a very advantageous exchange rate, exceptional weather conditions for milk supply, and improving commodity prices. The coincidence of these three factors has helped to create a windfall payout."

Mr Pedersen cautioned that such conditions could not last and that farmers needed to be positioned for the inevitable downward slide when it came. Vital ingredients in that positioning are recognising share value back to farmers, effective and representative industry governance, and the integration of marketing and manufacturing.

Mr Pedersen commented that the dairy industry still has more questions than answers regarding its future, and that DFNZ would encourage farmers to strive for an informed debate that would provide some answers.

"The advantage of having informed debate amongst the whole industry is that even if the answers are not found, agreement on a way forward might be. Agreement would achieve a forward-looking industry, which is essential if dairy farmers are to survive the inevitable storm of change," he concluded.

ENDS

For further information: Charlie Pedersen 025-463-480 Kevin Petersen 04-473-7269(wk) or 025-807-987


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