Former Federated Farmers national board member Chris Lewis was elected alongside DairyNZ director Tracy Brown to DairyNZ’s board at its AGM in Invercargill this week.
DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel says he is looking forward to having Tracy and Chris on the board, as they will help play a key role in helping create a better future for farmers.
“Tracy and Chris will play a key part in setting the future direction of DairyNZ and the sector. They both bring key knowledge and expertise which will support our farmers as we continue to navigate the changing farming environment.”
Tracy and Chris join the three other farmer-elected directors and three board-appointed directors on DairyNZ’s board.
Van der Poel also thanked departing board member Elaine Cook for her contributions to the DairyNZ board.
“Elaine’s expertise has been invaluable over the past seven years. Elaine has contributed greatly in the face of a range of farmer challenges, including changing regulations, particularly winter grazing regulations in Southland, and supporting the transition towards the new DairyNZ strategy for farmers. We will miss her.”
This year’s AGM acknowledged the significant year it has been for farmers, including inflation driving up costs on-farm, staff shortages, regulatory changes and COVID-19, while also highlighting some of the sector’s achievements.
“As farmers we should all be proud of our contribution, providing jobs and income for New Zealand. With strong milk prices, dairy’s economic contribution was $50 billion over the past season,” said van der Poel.
“Despite the challenges we face, dairy continues to be a driving force behind New Zealand’s economy.
“DairyNZ will also continue to advocate strongly on behalf of farmers – and we have done so on winter grazing, dairy cattle welfare consultation, and residency and border issues this year.”
At the AGM, van der Poel also discussed the current challenge of climate change, emissions pricing and the need for sensible industry-led solutions.
“DairyNZ stands behind what was proposed to government earlier this year as part of the He Waka Eke Noa partnership. But we do not support the government’s response that they announced last week. The partnership presented a credible option that would have supported emissions reductions, while enabling farmers to have profitable businesses and thriving rural communities,” said van der Poel.
“I want to be clear that what the Government came back with is not what the sector proposed, and we have some serious concerns with that. There is still a lot that needs to be improved to make what the Government has announced workable for farmers.”