Speaking at the DairyNZ Farmers’ Forum today at Mystery Creek in Hamilton, Mr O’Connor told the crowd that New Zealand’s dairy sector could benefit by promoting its on-farm production systems internationally.
“Every part of our production system has to be up to standard, if we say we are the best then we have to be able to prove it,” said Mr O’Connor. “So we have to redefine what we do and inspire everyone to understand the potential of the world’s finest food production system.
“The government knows how important the primary sector, and in particular dairy, is to the economy. It’s our single biggest earner, alongside tourism. We have to back our production with brand integrity – which is why sustainability, animal welfare, climate change and other issues are so important, that’s why we are talking about it.
“My vision is that we produce the finest food and protein for the world’s most discerning customers, because those customers will have to be able to pay a little bit more for the food that takes a little more to produce, because we are going to run the best systems in the world.”
Mr O’Connor also discussed Mycoplasma Bovis and efforts being made to eradicate it. “Mycoplasma Bovis may be the most challenging biosecurity issue we will ever have to deal with. For future, Biosecurity NZ has been set-up with an international unit to look at risks offshore, along with reviewing import standards and the Biosecurity Act.”
Minister for Climate Change Hon. James Shaw also discussed New Zealand’s emissions profile and reaching a zero carbon emissions target by 2050.
“We are committed to being part of a net zero emissions and it is not down to one sector – it is going to take all of us to achieve it,” said Mr Shaw.
The DairyNZ Farmers’ Forum is on May 8-9 and also hosts Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon, economist Cameron Bagrie, futurist Roger Dennis, author and science communicator Julian Cribb and mental health campaigner Mike King.
Dairy sector leaders Tatua chair Stephen Allen, Fonterra chair John Wilson, Open Country Dairy CEO Steve Koekemoer, Westland Milk Products CEO Toni Brendish and Miraka CEO Richard Wyeth are also speaking.
The DairyNZ Farmers’ Forum is a biennial event which brings together political and economic views, and discusses sustainable farming, future food and farm practices.
To see more from the Farmers’ Forum visit facebook.com/dairynz.
Note: media are welcome to attend the Farmers’ Forum, please contact Vanessa Feaver below for information on how to register your attendance.
Senior communications and media specialist
Ph 027 836 6295