After a nice early start, we met for the first time at the airport and were given shirts and vests to represent the UDV and VFF. After a few little delays we all made it through customs to Chris Paynter, our UDV tour organiser, with his hands full of coffee to wake us up.
Flying over the Tasman the 3 and 1/2 hour flight got us into Christchurch on the south island of New Zealand. We went through customs stopping to get our boots checked along the way. Feeling motivated and hopeful we piled into the mini bus realising that New Zealand was looking very similar to Australia.
Our first stop on the itinerary was the Federated Farmers of New Zealand to meet Nick Clark, Policy Manager, and Chris Lewis, Dairy Chair. As a group we disscussed current challenges and issues facing the industry. It was interesting to learn the dairy sector is the largest export and is one of the largest industries along with tourism. We always knew land prices where high, but we where astonished to learn the land can cost as much $120,000 per ha.
Other issues discussed included:
- succession planing
- farm debt
- share farming argreements
- environmental impacts
- animal welfare
We ended the day getting to know each over dinner discussing the days events and what waits for us ahead.
– Tom Ryan