Dairy farming is becoming more complex, which means we need to prioritise what we do, and how we do it, to achieve positive progress and make a greater impact.

From 1 June 2024, we will adopt a more focused approach to how we deliver value for farmers and the sector. This includes three clear priorities that drive nine programmes of work. Our programmes reflect the future needs of the sector.

Video: A sharper focus at DairyNZ

Video: A sharper focus at DairyNZ

Video 1:46 min

Key changes in our new strategy:

Long-term focus

Our research and farm systems expertise means we are well placed to address key long-term challenges to help you to remain profitable and sustainable and the sector to remain internationally competitive. Farmers can still access the good work that’s been done in the past, but going forward we will be focusing on what we, as a sector, need for the future.

Fewer, better events

You'll see our approach to events changing. We will still offer opportunities for you to connect with other farmers, however, to provide an experience with greater value, our events will be larger and replace the many small, more frequent events we have been running. We will strengthen our digital platforms so that farmers and others in the sector can access our farming knowledge more easily.

High-impact partnerships

Achieving positive progress for the New Zealand dairy sector is not something we can do on our own. This new direction means we will stop duplicating what others do at an individual farm level, and we'll collaborate across the sector through high impact partnerships to solve the longer-term challenges. We will focus on sharing our knowledge, working together on events, and acting as a navigator to services provided by partners. This will provide stronger reach and impact of our work.

DairyNZ’s new strategy: Frequently Asked Questions

Why is DairyNZ's strategy changing?

Our current strategy was scoped through to 2025. Many things have changed since it was created and we’re entering the 24/25 dairy season so the timing is right.

In a nutshell: What will we see more of? Increased clarity and focus, a willingness to partner more with others across the sector (including rural professionals), and a greater focus on the impact and outcomes. What will we see less of? Doubling up with the work of others, or playing where others are best placed to take the lead.

To continue achieving positive progress for New Zealand dairy farmers and the sector, we need to adapt with farmers in a world that is becoming more complex.

We have achieved some great outcomes with farmers to date, through our science-based solutions, topic-based events, our advocacy activity with government, and working with partners in the sector to deliver a range of different support services and opportunities. However, while we currently offer a broad variety of tools and services, farmers have told us the value we add and what sets us apart, isn’t clear.

So, we have taken a good look at what we do and how we do it. We have looked at what our strengths are, and the unique difference we can offer to provide the most value to farmers and the sector. We need to be clear on why we are here and what we offer, to provide a more valuable experience when connecting with us. We also recognise that while we have a unique, science-based approach to on-farm and sector solutions, there are some areas of support where others are better placed to assist.

How will you measure effectiveness of the strategy?

We have set a clear level of DairyNZ’s ambition across key topics for the sector, with clear KPIs on how we measure our progress towards them. We will check in regularly and adjust as we need to match whatever comes at us.

What is the focus of the DairyNZ strategy?

Our new strategy has three clear strategic priorities. These priorities and nine programmes are based on what we believe we need to achieve to secure the future of the sector.

Our strategic priorities are supported by a standard set of key activities that we turn on or off for each programme and will focus our resources on to deliver better value for your levy.

While we will review our priorities every three years to ensure we are still providing the greatest value to farmers and the sector, we also have some longer-term goals for the sector:

Accelerating on farm productivity

  • Sector rates of animal genetic gain match world-leading competitors.
  • Gains in forage performance through genetics, forage combinations, and management enable resilience to climate and improve international competitiveness.
  • Workplace productivity on dairy farms has significantly increased and is internationally competitive, and dairy farming is an attractive employment and career opportunity.

Powering more adaptable and resilient farms

  • New Zealand dairy production systems are world-leading in cost of production, customer desirability and business resilience profile, and match world-leading competitors in emissions intensity.
  • Access to high-quality data and insights is unlocking significant benefit to the sector and delivering credibility and trust with customers and stakeholders.
  • An integrated and sustainably funded biosecurity system that minimises the impacts of biosecurity incursions through collective readiness activities and robust on-farm biosecurity measures.

Enabling sustainable and competitive dairying

  • Empowered farming communities are driving improvements in water quality and ecosystem health at scale across dairy catchments and the public and consumers view dairy farmers positively as responsible stewards of the land.
  • New Zealand dairy farming remains internationally competitive in animal care.
  • The sector to have dairy farmers on track to meet GHG commitments enabled by fair and practical policies and measures and access to cost-effective mitigation practices and technologies.

How will the new strategy affect the support I usually receive from my regional team?

From 1 June, you will notice some differences in how we operate, including services we offer and support we provide.

Our strategic priorities are supported by a set of activities that we will focus our resources on, so that each of our programmes delivers better value for levy.

To be clear in the value we provide for the levy, we need to be more focused in what we do. This means you will see us reducing our activity in some areas and being more focused in others.

For example, where other organisations already operate, such as rural professionals providing an individual on-farm service, we will provide an extensive referrals system. This will reduce duplication of effort and allow us to give greater focus on longer-term issues affecting farmers and the sector.

You'll also see our approach to events changing. We will still offer opportunities for farmers to connect, however to be cost-effective and provide sufficient impact and value, our events will be larger, and often delivered in partnership with others. These events will replace the many small, more frequent events we have been hosting. We will also be strengthening our digital platforms so that farmers can access our comprehensive farming knowledge more easily.

Delivering on our new strategy for you also means that we will need to work differently. We are working through adjustments to our structure to ensure we can meet the job to be done, from 1 June.

What benefits will I receive for my levy?

  • Our focus on future-proofing the sector will increase, including topics and issues that will have a greater impact on making positive progress in the sector.
  • We will partner with others more (eg. to deliver events and to make referrals) and enhance our digital platforms to improve the quality, reach and impact of our farm system knowledge. This will give farmers easier access to our information that is directly delivered by us or delivered by others.
  • Our foundational knowledge, including insights, data and benchmarking will also be shared with experts outside DairyNZ, to strengthen the collective knowledge of the sector.
  • To support farmers with specific farming requirements today, we will provide an extensive referral system either to one of our own specialists, or other experts who can provide individual on-farm support. We will support these partners by sharing our comprehensive farming knowledge.
  • Our science and research, and sector insights are used alongside farmer input to develop sector solutions and inform pragmatic policy.

How was the new strategy developed?

DairyNZ’s board and leadership team have co-developed our new strategy based on farmer and sector insights, collaboration with partners, and engagement with staff. Insights and feedback from farmers around what we offer and how we deliver has been critical to ensure our new strategy is fit for purpose and the job to be done.

What date will the new strategy launch?

Our new strategy will come into effect on 1 June 2024. Levy payers have been notified about this via an email from our board chair, Jim van der Poel and chief executive, Campbell Parker.

What is DairyNZ's unique difference?

Our science-based farm systems expertise sets us apart in the sector to provide unique, future-focused solutions that support farmers and the sector to progress a positive future for New Zealand dairy farming.

  • We are a preferred partner because we are independent and represent all dairy farmers.
  • We have world-class expertise relevant to our complex industry challenges.
  • We take a farm systems approach in how we work with farmers.

When will more detail about the strategy changes be released?

DairyNZ will continue to keep levy payers and our sector partners and stakeholders informed with the latest information on our new strategy. Information on our website will continue to be updated, and other DairyNZ platforms will also share detail of our new strategy.

What opportunities will there be to connect with DairyNZ on what's changing?

We always welcome feedback from levy payers around what we deliver and how we show up for you. There are a range of opportunities to connect with us now on this topic, and in the coming months:

What does my levy currently go to?

DairyNZ invests your levy in a wide range of programmes that progress a positive future for New Zealand dairy farming.

Find out more about the milksolids levy and how your levy is invested.