Getting up bright and early is nothing for our six dairy farmers and tour leader, however this morning it was under quite different circumstances. The dairy conversations started early, not only with the ‘get to know you’ for the tour participants, but when we came across 4.5kg of organic whole milk powder retailing for $98 AUD at the airport! The airport is clearly the perfect example of a niche market.
Once making it across the Tasman we headed straight for Federated Farmers of New Zealand (FFNZ). We met Nick Clark, General Policy Manager and had a teleconference call to connect with Neil Filer, Dairy Industry Group Executive and Anne Thompson, Dairy Policy Advisor. It was an informative and educational meeting, giving us valuable insight into the scope of the organisation and the similarities and differences within policy issues facing the dairy industry in each country.
The issues that the FFNZ discussed as “hot topics” were similar to that of our industry in Australia. Social Media issues and animal activists, genetic modification, milk price, ATV’s & helmets, migrant labour, climate change and foreign investment were key policy issues discussed. However, similar to last year, one of the greatest area of unrest for the FFNZ was mainly to do with the environmental impacts of the dairy sector (leaching nitrates into the water table) on water quality.
FFNZ clearly have a defined, systematic approach to their topical policy issues and it was great to see the overall industry remaining resilient throughout challenging times.
Tomorrow morning we are heading to Dairy NZ to learn more about the broader industry, then to PGG Wrightson Seeds Dairy Plot and the Lincoln Demo Dairy to see some seed trials and research.