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Southern Dairy Hub Great Farmer Investment

Southern Dairy Hub Great Farmer Investment

The Southern Dairy Hub is an excellent investment for southern dairy farmers, as every dollar invested automatically delivers a $6 return.

That’s the view of Hedgehope dairy farmer Nigel Johnston, who has pledged his support for the Hub proposal and considers it a good investment for his farm business for a number of reasons.

“We need some decent science around what’s happening specifically in Southland and especially around nutrient management. A collective approach to that – like what’s being proposed with the Hub – is critical.”

Mr Johnston says the Hub will also ensure the future sustainability of dairying in the region.

“I held a local farmer meeting at my place and the general feeling was that the Hub is almost a bit grandiose, but when it’s explained as to why and how it is future proofing the southern dairy industry, they get it.”

He says it is also an excellent investment.

“For every dollar we put in there’s at least a $6 return due to the investment also being made by DairyNZ, AgResearch and the Southern Dairy Development Trust (SDDT) through the Southland Demonstration Farm.”

The SDDT trustees, who are backing the Hub concept, have less than three weeks left to get southern dairy farmers to pledge their financial support towards the proposal.

SDDT Chair Matthew Richards says there is widespread support for the proposal with quite a few farmers intending to pledge but just haven’t filled out the form.

“We want farmers to look at the big picture and, like Nigel, recognise the excellent value of the investment we are asking them to make. There are a heap of farmers out there who we know are keen to pledge, but just haven’t done it yet. We need them to get online and pledge before it’s too late.”

The SDDT has a deadline of April 30 to raise the $2 million local farmer contribution needed. DairyNZ and AgResearch are both prepared to invest $5 million, and the SDDT expects to contribute about $2.5 million in cash when the Southland Demonstration Farm lease runs out. The remainder of the Hub will be funded through debt.

The Hub aims to be an innovation centre where ideas and concepts are tested that will benefit southern dairy farmers. The 300-380ha farm Hub will undertake comparative research in a commercial environment, with four herds of about 200 cows each. It will also house education and learning facilities and provide space for community groups and farmers to meet.

As of April 13, over 266 farmers have pledged with more than $670,000 in donations towards the proposal.


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