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Southland Hosts Environmental Leadership Forum

Friday, 23rd November 2012

Southland Hosts Environmental Leadership Forum for Dairy Farmers

Taking a common sense approach to sustainable dairying is the theme of a sustainability forum for award-winning dairy farmers being held in Invercargill next week.

Forum chair, past-participant and Putaruru dairy farmer Martin Bennett says 54 participants at the Building Environmental Leaders Network Forum will be asked to share their thoughts on how the dairy industry shapes its response to sustainability challenges.

“Each year this programme takes people who have come through competitions in the industry. Every dairy farm is a piece of a jigsaw. We embrace their achievements and help them untangle complex sustainability challenges so they understand how they fit into the big picture.”

“We also give them leadership skills training to help them realise their potential to help others in the community.”

This is the sixth year of the forum, run by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust in partnership with DairyNZ. To-date 184 farmers from across the country have been involved in workshop sessions on sustainability challenges and leadership skills.

Martin says the common-sense approach is about farmers being involved in finding solutions to managing change in the dairy industry.

“We have to change as fast as we can, but at a pace that lets us adjust our businesses so we can survive change and prosper for the good of our communities and New Zealand.”

“We can’t have wholesale changes overnight as they’ll bankrupt farmers and communities will feel the effect of lost businesses. We need to be financially viable to make changes.

He says the forum is a unique opportunity to hear from leaders across all the pillars of sustainability.

“It’s not every day that farmers get the chance to discuss complex industry issues around sustainability with people like Dame Margaret Bazley, Bernard Hickey and Kevin Hackwell and then follow that with discussions with other farmers over dinner.”

The forum is being held in Invercargill from November Nov 27 to 29.

Speakers include; economic commentator Bernard Hickey, Dame Margaret Bazley, Chair of Commissioners, Environment Canterbury, Hon. David Caygill, Deputy Chair of Commissioners, Environment Canterbury, Kevin Hackwell, Forest & Bird, Ali Timms, Chair Environment Southland, Dr Tim Mackle, Chief Executive, DairyNZ.


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