The forum gives some of New Zealand’s most innovative farming leaders an opportunity to connect with each other, policy makers, politicians, and other influencers who shape the New Zealand dairy sector.

Connection and collaboration is key for dairy farmers as they continue to reduce their environmental footprint. The forum’s theme – building whanaungatanga for future success – recognises that.

“Whanaungatanga is about forming and maintaining relationships and strengthening ties between communities,” DEL chair and Hunua dairy farmer Amber Carpenter says. “These connections help the dairy sector and research partners continue to develop climate and water quality mitigation solutions for our pasture-based farms, to accelerate positive change and get ahead of the environmental challenges farmers face.

“Together, we can continue contributing positively to New Zealand’s environment and economy.”

The March 12-14 forum will help the 70 attending Dairy Environment Leaders (DELs) plan how they will support environmental progress in their communities this year, in a changing regulatory landscape.

Dairy Environment Leaders chair Amber Carpenter.

“As DELs, we are committed to sharing our experiences and knowledge with other farmers, to encourage the adoption of positive environmental practices,” Amber says. “There are many challenges and opportunities ahead, and this forum gives farmers the chance to connect, hear different viewpoints and make a positive impact – on-farm and in our communities.”

This year’s event will bring experts together for panel discussions on how to collaboratively address water quality challenges and how farmers can lower farming-related emissions.

The Dairy Environment Leaders network was formed by farmers, the NZ Farm Environment Trust and DairyNZ in 2007. It aims to empower leadership and provide opportunities to support and share on-farm actions to reduce environmental footprint and broader sustainability issues. It comprises about 400 environmentally focussed dairy farmers committed to creating a sustainable future in dairying.

DairyNZ general manager sustainable dairy Dr David Burger says the DEL network’s vision is of environmental stewardship for the future – famer-led practical change across individual farms, catchments and regions. “The DELs are driven and passionate about the environment. They demonstrate good management practices on their farms, including protecting and enhancing waterways, riparian planting and reducing emissions – to ensure environmental sustainability for future generations.

“Thanks to all the great work from DELs and other dairy farmers around NZ, the sector is embracing environmental change with a positive, future-focused approach. This is about continuous improvement – we acknowledge there is still work to be done.”

DairyNZ has an extensive range of initiatives underway to improve water quality. This includes researching mitigation tools such as constructed wetlands on farms, which treat contaminants before they enter waterways. DairyNZ also works with research organisations to identify water quality issues at a catchment level and uses science to prioritise on-farm actions that lead to significant improvements.

DairyNZ invites environmentally-minded dairy farmers to join the DEL network. The industry-good body welcomes enquiries from dairy farmers with a particular passion for the environment who would like the opportunity to learn more about sustainable farming within a farmer-led network. For more information please email DEL@dairynz.co.nz

Media contact
Justine McLeary
Senior media specialist
p: 027 808 0673
e: justine.mcleary@dairynz.co.nz

Page last updated:

4 Mar 2024


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