“This year’s theme was about embracing change and supporting communities’ which we strongly believe are two sides of the same coin. You can’t have one without the other” Mrs Brown said.
“Farmers are demonstrating a real willingness to embrace change, and New Zealanders need to see that willingness and support our rural communities and famers on their journey to a more sustainable future. We are all in this together and we all want the same thing at the end of the day.
“I’ve never met a farmer who didn’t want clean waterways and a sustainable climate – but I’ve met plenty who are anxious about the pace and scale of change required and the tools available to help them meet changing public expectations.
“We need to move at a pace that communities can keep up with and ensure our farming businesses remain internationally competitive and economically viable.
“Our Dairy Environment Leaders are an incredibly positive and engaged network of farmers who are actively demonstrating what is possible for our sector through their actions. The public sees what they are doing and so do other farmers.
“The Dairy Environment Leaders Forum is about equipping these farmers with the skills and knowledge they need to be positive and effective ambassadors in their communities.
“Day 1 was about the challenges we face, day 2 was focused on breaking down those challenges to manageable pieces, and day 3 was about picking up the challenges and embracing them.
“What became very clear as we worked through this process was that the way forward for our sector will be through enabling farmers to co-develop the solutions.
“We will continue to look for opportunities to create transformational partnerships with people and organisations that want to work with us to improve environmental outcomes – and that includes the Government.
“It was really positive to hear the Prime Minister reiterate to our delegates that she has a real willingness to engage with farmers and work with our Dairy Environment Leaders to amplify our voice, come up with workable solutions, and drive change.
“One of our delegates shared some wise words with the Prime Minister: If you want to go fast, you go alone. If you want to go far, you take people with you.
“This year we have already seen the agricultural sector and Government come together in a world-first partnership to build an enduring farm-level emission reduction framework and we are hopeful that something similar might be possible when it comes to other environmental challenges.
“Yes, there will be an economic impact, but this isn’t just a cost – it’s an investment in the future of our industry – and the future of our rural communities. We want our children and grandchildren to be able to farm with pride as we have if they choose to. It’s also about doing what’s right” Mrs Brown concluded.
Senior Communications Advisor
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