By Hamish Barwick
The Federated Farmers Dairy Executive has been working on a Dairy Section strategy for the next three years. It focuses on areas where it can add the most value, while supporting other organisations in their areas of strength.
Speaking at the Dairy Council meeting in Wellington earlier this month, Chair Richard McIntyre explained that they didn’t want to double up on the work other organisations are doing.
“Essentially we want to be doing the things that we can do better than anyone else and supporting others in the things they do better than us,” he said.
“This means we are allocating farmers’ resources, such as membership money and levies, in the most efficient way possible. For example, with some projects, DairyNZ provides the funding and we will provide the farmer talent. In advocacy, when we need farmers speaking for farmers, we, as the respected voice of farming, do that better than anyone else.”
In addition, Richard said he was very keen to get good engagement across the Dairy Council, which is made up of elected dairy section leaders from each of the 24 Federated Farmers provinces.
“That’s something I think we lost a bit over COVID. We want to ensure that Dairy Council members have a good understanding of what’s happening nationally and also have an opportunity to contribute to the discussion and policy formation.
”Communication is really important and we’re working on that with monthly online Dairy Council meetings. We upskill members with expert speakers on topical issues and facilitate informed discussion and debate so that they can go back to their provincial teams and engage effectively with members,” he said.
The Dairy Council has also set up a WhatsApp group for members as an informal way of keeping in touch.
Another action area for the Council is collaboration. “We want to be in the room while other industry organisations are formulating policy and positions. This allows us to provide farmer input to help things get to a more practical place.
“We will also have a good understanding of where things are going so we can make sure the Dairy Council understands the direction of travel and are in a position to make an informed decision as to whether or not we support a policy or position,” Richard said.
“We also want to improve our engagement with Beef + Lamb NZ so that we can better understand what they’re putting our levy money into and also work to ensure that the dairy portion of their income is spent on the matters that are important to us.”