The new dairy sector strategy, Dairy Tomorrow, was launched last night and tackles head-on the big issues the sector is facing, says Dairy Environment Leader Group Chair Alister Body.
“The process of developing this strategy meant we had to take a hard look at the challenges the sector is facing,” says Mr Body. “This meant strong engagement with all stakeholders- not just those in the primary sector.”
“We didn’t develop this strategy in a silo. We interviewed environmental lobby groups, like Forest and Bird, we spoke with experts like the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, we heard from animal welfare groups like the SPCA, and we spoke to academic researchers and scientific bodies.
“Our farmers too played a key part. They were incredibly vocal about their desire for more research and development into options and solutions to help them farm sustainably.
“Reducing cow numbers is too simplistic. We already know we need to produce more from less, and we need to do this sustainably.
“What Dairy Tomorrow focuses on is the need to look more closely at our land use challenges in New Zealand. This involves firm time bound targets for putting in place certified farm sustainability plans and a 50-year vision of sustainable land use in New Zealand.
“We encourage everyone, including our communities, to work with us on these goals, so we can develop a sustainable land use blueprint for farming in New Zealand.”
DairyNZ Chief Executive Tim Mackle, who launched Dairy Tomorrow last night on behalf of the wider dairy sector, says working together with stakeholders will mean the dairy sector can plan the future shape of dairy farming systems.
“The dairy sector is always going to be a critical part of the New Zealand economy. Even in the face of the growing popularity for synthetic products the demand for high quality dairy will always exist – so long as we can prove our production chain is sustainable.
“We have set ourselves these targets, and we have committed to regular transparent reporting on our progress. The real work begins now to determine how we will achieve these goals.
“This will be a complex job and isn’t limited to the dairy sector. We want to engage broadly with organisations that can play a role and help us work toward common outcomes.”