The priorities are based on feedback received from 248 farmers the organisation surveyed in July.
DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle said the organisation wanted to give voice to dairy farmers’ concerns and priorities to help politicians better understand the issues impacting on farmers.
It listed 10 priorities which are:
Invest in R&D for our primary sector to unlock more value and volume.
Set a clear strategy for science funding that is appropriately resourced to support farmers to reduce their environmental footprint while increasing profit.
Work with the sector to meet workforce needs through training and recruitment of Kiwis, as well as skilled migrant workers.
Invest in rural broadband and improved mobile coverage to better connect our rural communities with NZ and the world.
Develop a national water storage strategy and invest in water storage to increase water supply in times of drought, enable land-use flexibility and unlock economic potential.
Develop and enforce a world-leading biosecurity system that is properly resourced, learns from our M. bovis experience and ensures everyone plays their part.
Reform the RMA to reduce compliance costs for farmers, increase efficiency and drive better environmental outcomes.
Partner with farmers and support them to play their part to meet new environmental standards.
Ensure targets for water quality improvements are fair and equitable, clear, scientifically robust and have pragmatic timeframes for implementation.
Review the methane targets in the Zero Carbon Act to ensure they are firmly grounded in science and align our international and domestic targets by applying a split gas approach to our Paris commitment and carbon budgets.
The survey compiled feedback from dairy farmers across New Zealand. Key trends include challenges with mental health, technology and government regulation.
While it was encouraging to see that 94% of farmers were proud to be working in the dairy industry, 62% of farmers said they or someone on their farm had experienced mental health issues over the last year – with an uncertain regulatory framework identified as one of the main contributing causes.
“Fifty percent of farmers said they don’t have access to the broadband internet they need and 52% don’t have adequate mobile reception on-farm,” Mackle said.
He said when asked about their community’s outlook over the next three years, 64% of farmers expect things to decline.
“Farmers were also asked what motivated them the most to get out of bed in the morning – what was great to see is that working and caring for animals is the main driver for 43% of farmers. Providing for their family came in a close second,” Mackle said.
“This sends a tremendous message that farmers really value what they do, and that animal care remains at the heart of their farming business.”