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Strong dairy commitment to research and development

Strong dairy commitment to research and development

Wednesday 30 September, 2015
For immediate release

Industry body DairyNZ has confirmed its commitment to investing in dairy science following the release of AgResearch's proposals for staffing reductions.

DairyNZ's chief executive Tim Mackle says DairyNZ has continually increased its funding for research and development - because of its importance to the dairy industry.

"Our investment in research and development is unwavering. This year we are funding $18 million worth of scientific research. That is a 1.5 percent increase from last financial year. Farmers tell us it's a top priority for them. The dairy industry has always had a long and deep commitment to science as the foundation that drives innovation and our competitiveness," he says.

"We have funded AgResearch directly between $5.4 million and $8.4 million per annum over the last five years. That's a total of around $33 million and an annual average investment of $6.6 million.

"AgResearch also receives additional dairy levy funding indirectly through their involvement in research consortia that DairyNZ and other entities fund.

"Our commitment to employing scientists and funding research is real and backed up by funding because we are in farming for the long game. We have around 115 scientific staff working for us on dairy research, we run internships and scholarships for developing young scientists plus we commission research across the Crown Research Institutes, mainly AgResearch," Tim says.

"Our funding to AgResearch has always been strong. We are one of their biggest investing partners - and we've been continually driving demand for research and development and letting them know where our priorities lie as part of their decision-making on future capability.

"We don't want to see the sector lose any of its research capability because all farmers benefit from a strong agricultural science sector, but if AgResearch is losing funding, because others aren't investing, then it doesn't have much choice but to look for efficiencies. Unfortunately staff, as well as being the most valuable asset, are also the biggest cost.

"It is reassuring to hear that AgResearch is not completely stopping work in any area of science and that its proposal announced last week is about growing its work in areas where there is demand and impact," he says.

ENDS

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