The programme’s vision is to support, develop and empower dairy farming leaders to lead positive change, shape a sustainable future for the dairy industry and enhance the communities we live in towards a better New Zealand.
Who are the dairy environment leaders?
The dairy environment leaders are an active network of highly effective dairy farming leaders from around the country who engage on farming environmental matters from within, and on behalf of, the dairy industry.
Dairy environment leaders make things happen. They are active in our communities at grass-roots level, on boards and local committees, and work to achieve better outcomes for the environment and farming. Dairy environment leaders may be working on regional and national initiatives to improve water quality, reviewing their farm system to reduce their environmental footprint, assisting other dairy farmers in the consultation process with their regional councils, or engaging with the public by hosting school children on their farm.
Highlights from the 2015 Dairy Environment Leaders’ Forum
Dairy environment leaders’ regional programme
Environment leaders have formed regional groups throughout the country to work on regional challenges and bring other farmers on board.
They are supported by DairyNZ with training opportunities, involvement in industry projects, communication, and linkages to other farmers and industry initiatives.
Northland, Southland, Waikato and West Cost regional group initiatives
Northland dairy environment leaders are working with key stakeholders to discuss issues and opportunities on developing Northland Regional Council’s Regional Plan.
Formed by Southland dairy environment leaders, the purpose of the Dairy Leaders Advisory Group is to contribute to the development and promotion of dairy industry views on policy changes.
Southland dairy environment leaders work closely with other farmers, Environment Southland, industry stakeholders and the wider community to help develop long-term solutions to environmental issues. The leaders’ first objective was to provide input into and raise awareness in the community of Environment Southland’s Water and Land Plan.
Dairy environment leaders have made significant contribution over the last two years to engage, support and inform farmers about Waikato Regional Council’s Healthy Rivers: Plan for Change process for the Waikato and Waipa catchments.
A farmer engagement group consisting of 18 farmers (12 of which are dairy environment leaders) have helped lead interactions between farmers and council throughout the process.
The Coast Dairy Environment Group (CDEG), formed by dairy environment leaders, is promoting the sustainability of dairy farming on the West Coast through promotion of good news stories and engagement with authorities.
Activities include working with the NZ Farm Environment Trust to bring the Ballance Farm Environment Awards to the West Coast region, encouraging and facilitating school visits to dairy farms and engaging with regional authorities and Westland Milk Products. They meet every few months to review progress and set actions for individual members to ensure they are working towards their objectives.
Dairy Environment Leaders’ Annual Forum
The annual farmer-led Dairy Environment Leaders’ Forum in December - held since 2007, is an invaluable opportunity for dairy environment leaders to get together, evaluate their progress and set goals for their regional and national initiatives.
Dairy environment leaders’ diverse backgrounds means a considerable amount of farming and industry knowledge is brought to the annual forum where over one hundred farmer leaders meet to accelerate positive change for the dairy industry.
At the forum, farmer leaders:
- work on individual, regional and national action plans
- attend skills sessions and workshops and build on existing leadership skills
- celebrate individual and industry successes
- share their knowledge and experience and learn from each other.
Dairy environment leaders interview 2015 forum speakers
At the 2015 forum dairy environment leaders put their training and skills into action:
- Sarah Coatsworth from Rotorua, talks to Yamini Naidu – What’s your story?
- Suzanne Hanning from Invercargill talks to Jacqueline Chow – What’s your purpose?
- Colleen Sheldon talks to Mike Petersen – Negotiation skills
- Mat Hocken from Feilding talks to Shark man, Riley Elliott
Dairy Environment Leaders interview 2015 forum speakers
Nominate a dairy environment leader
Help us identify further dairy environment leaders. If you believe you, or someone you know, should join the dairy environment leaders’ network - please contact us.
Dairy environment leaders are committed to:
- Environmental progress and stewardship
- Engaging with and enhancing communities
- Improving the public perception of farming
- Investing time and action to lead change for the industry.
Leaders must have a collective spirit – look beyond the farm gate, be reputable and trusted in their community, and be a levy payer.
For more information contact Helen Moodie at firstname.lastname@example.org.