Friday, July 1, 2022

Farmers must decide themselves

Should an organisation which has the role of representing dairy farmers be telling them how to vote?

This is the scenario Fonterra shareholders face as they ready themselves for their annual meeting with the Fonterra Shareholders’ Council (FSC) urging them to vote down a resolution seeking to ensure a minimum number of farmer-elected directors are on the co-op’s board. More importantly to some, it also asks that these directors be the only ones voting for Fonterra’s chair.

FSC chair Ian Brown’s reasons for his council’s call to farmers for a no vote are sound – the whole issue is being looked at in the new year and who wouldn’t want to take the time to make sure the best possible governance structure was put in place?

But at the end of the day every shareholder’s vote is the one final determinant of their co-op’s direction when it comes to leadership, policy and embarking on new initiatives such as trading among farmers (TAF), which all will be anxious to see finally finding its feet as speculation stops and trading gets underway.

No farmer would want to have their constituent Member of Parliament tell them how to vote in a referendum. If they belong to a political party they might take on board its position on a particular issue.
But that is their choice.

They wouldn’t be serving their fellow farmers, co-op or industry well if they simply accepted the FSC’s recommendation without weighing up carefully what their own view was and voting accordingly.

It’s that time of year again and all of us here at The Dairy Exporter wish our readers a very Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and all the very best for the New Zealand dairy industry in 2013.

We’re planning some interesting reading for you – look out for associate editor Anne Lee’s reports in coming issues on the FarmWise farmers tour of the UK looking at wintering options.  

Glenys Christian


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