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New Initiatives To Benefit Northland Dairying

2 March 2006

New Initiatives To Benefit Northland Dairying

A dairy development trust and a new research facility to support dairying in Northland will be officially launched at this week's Northland Agricultural Fieldays by National Party finance spokesman and MP for Helensville John Key.

The Northland Dairy Development Trust (NDDT) - a joint venture between the Northland Agricultural Research Farm (NARF) and Fonterra, and supported by Dexcel, Dairy Insight, and key sponsor Westpac - has been developed to give strategic direction and governance for research funds that will be used to promote dairy farming in Northland.

The Northland Dairy Research Centre, which will be located on Fonterra's 230-hectare Jordan Valley Dairy Farm, will include a 50-bale rotary farm dairy, a 100-person seminar room and on-site office facilities that will house the Dexcel Regional Science Manager and the Northland Dexcel extension team.

Fonterra National Farms Manager Brendan Attrill says the venture will benefit all Northland dairy farmers.

"The initiative will create Northland's own dairy research and education hub. Research work done at the Jordan Valley site will relate specifically to the region's dairy farmers."

Mr Attrill says the Centre's initial focus will be on best on-farm practice in Northland.

Mark Leslie, Fonterra Milk Supply, General Manager Milk Supply Growth, says the work of the trust and the research facility will promote the sustainable growth of milk supply in the Northland region in line with Fonterra's Foundation Theme.

The formation of the trust also ensures the future viability of the Northland Agricultural Research Farm, which will focus on small farm systems work, says NARF administrative manager Kathryn de Bruin.

"Our committee believes it is vital dairy industry funding flows back into Northland. The formation of the Trust will enable us to gain funding for projects that benefit the dairy industry in Northland, thereby making better use of the resources at the farm.

"We see the trust as a vehicle to promote the dairy industry within Northland, and the joint venture gives us a unique opportunity to work with Fonterra and other industry groups, giving our work a broader scope."

Westpac Head of Agribusiness Karen Silk said the bank is pleased to sponsor the NDDT and the Northland Dairy Research Centre.

"In order to fuel further economic growth we need to look for ways to increase the productivity of our businesses. That doesn't necessarily mean working harder, it does mean working smarter.

"The establishment of research centres such as the Northland Dairy Research Centre will go a long way towards ensuring that this drive for improved productivity gathers momentum within the dairying community."

The NDDT launch is being held at the Northland Agricultural Fieldays in Dargaville, on Friday March 3, at 1pm in the Fonterra marquee.

ENDS

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