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New Group Focuses On Industry & Agriculture Issues

New Group Focuses On Industry Approach To Agricultural Issues

Dairy 21, a group taking advantage of the combined resources of seven dairy industry heavyweights, was formally announced today by independent chairman, Graham Fraser.

Mr Fraser, a former Chairman of the Dairy Board, says the financial and intellectual resources of Ag Research, Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ), Dairy Insight, Dexcel, Fonterra, Westland Dairy Co and LIC, are being pooled to provide an industry wide approach to finding solutions to on-farm productivity issues facing the dairy farming industry in New Zealand.

“It’s clear that a pan-industry approach is needed to identify targets and generate funding for research projects that will deliver improved productivity to farmers,” says Mr Fraser.

“It is our view that funding for R&D, educational and extension programmes in the industry, from both Government and independent sources, is not at a level that reflects the importance of dairying to the economy.

“One of Dairy 21’s first goals is to achieve a level of Government funding that recognises the crucial role dairying plays in the well-being of the New Zealand economy. Our initial target is an increase of $60 million pa for pastoral agriculture. We have a proposal before Government that, if approved, would see this funding go into the next budget round.

“Dairy 21 has been established to bring an industry-wide focus to identifying, funding and allocating research projects that will improve dairy farmers’ net profitability. Our resources will also be used to ensure quick delivery and the application of research results at farm level.”

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Mr Fraser said a working group of the Chairmen and CEOs of the seven founding organisations had established the direction and goals of Dairy 21 and people from those organisations would form a group tasked with delivering on that strategy. Working parties to assist with this task will also include specialists from outside of those organisations.

Mr Fraser said the industry acknowledges the need to pursue its productivity targets within acceptable environmental parameters, noting Dairy Insight recently announced an initiative focused on environmental impacts of sustainable farming and organisations such as Dexcel and AgResearch already have programmes of work underway in this area.

“With the combined resources of Dairy 21 behind projects like this, we can ensure industry-wide support for solutions that are developed by the best available people, both within and outside the industry.

“A pan-industry driven programme is more likely to deliver results that meet the farmer, community and regulatory expectations of the dairy industry, while also meeting the economic goals of farmers.

“Our focus will be on the issues of sustainable farming, to identify real problems and provide tangible, cost effective programmes to address those problems. The focus is on answers, not ignoring or pushing back the problem”

Mr Fraser said Dairy 21’s other priorities would include sourcing additional Government and industry funding for such programmes and giving them the direction and resources they needed.

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