Thursday, April 25, 2024

Excited to help progress dairy’s positive future

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The new chief executive of DairyNZ has already had some good talks with farmers about what is and is not working for them.
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By Campbell Parker, DairyNZ chief executive

I am humbled and excited by the opportunity to join DairyNZ, helping lead the business into the future and support our dairy farmers. 

Having been in the role for just a month, I’m currently focused on getting to understand the business and meeting the people who play a significant part in keeping DairyNZ moving and supporting farmers. 

I strongly believe that people are always at the core of what we do. 

High on my priority list is getting out on the road and meeting farmers, and other key sector contacts, to understand their thoughts and perspectives. They will have some great thoughts on what is working, and what isn’t. 

I have already had some good conversations with farmers, something that is helping me gain broader understanding in this space. I enjoy hearing what’s on their minds, including what is working and what isn’t. 

We know industry good plays a key part in the sector, and it is important farmers truly see value behind the gate.

Then I want to take a step back and assess whether DairyNZ has the right strategy and priorities in place, ones that are going to deliver for farmers into the future. 

Regardless of the economic climate, we know the work we do needs to provide real value, and that focus will continue to be at the core of everything we do.

I appreciate that, from my time living throughout New Zealand, different regions could be facing different challenges and it’s important our teams remain relevant to support farmers with what they need. 

I’m also stepping into the role of DairyNZ’s chief executive and looking to combine 25 years of leadership experience with real passion for the dairy sector. 

We are lucky to live in a country that is home to around 11,000 dairy farmers, who are the backbone of our country. 

When you look at the sector as a whole, dairy plays a large role in contributing to GDP, providing employment, and supporting the prosperity of local communities. This is something we should all be proud of. 

While there are certainly challenges our sector is facing, I also think there is lots to get excited about. 

I genuinely believe that dairy will still be the cornerstone of New Zealand in 20 years’ time. For now, it is important to continue to have a positive mindset, while DairyNZ will remain firmly focused on progressing a positive future for New Zealand dairy farmers. 

The year ahead will be busy, as farmers plan for a season amid continued cost pressure and NIWA’s forecast potential El Niño weather pattern. 

There is no doubt we will also see continued challenges in the environmental space, but despite that, I see a positive long-term future for dairy. 

I also want to acknowledge Tim Mackle’s dedication to the dairy sector while he was chief executive of DairyNZ, and the good work Tim and the team did for farmers. It is important to build on that work and keep moving – working collaboratively to ensure the long-term sustainability of the sector. 

I look forward to connecting with farmers nationwide over the coming months and hearing what matters to them. I always welcome views on DairyNZ, and how we can deliver value for farmers.

This article first appeared in the November edition of our sister publication, Dairy Farmer.

Listen to Farmers Weekly managing editor Bryan Gibson’s interview with Campbell Parker below from the 10-minute mark.

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