This is $1.8 billion less than the previous 2013/14 season when the high milk price ($8.47 average dairy payout) boosted the Waikato region’s coffers by $4.2 billion.
Outgoing DairyNZ chairman John Luxton said the 2014/15 season’s low milk price had affected all farms, as owners and sharemilkers strove to remain profitable.
“The value of milk production to the Waikato’s economy is huge – the region takes a big hit when farmers do,” said Mr Luxton.
The Waikato’s 4020 dairy herds produced 518 million kg milksolids in 2014/15, contributing 27 percent of New Zealand’s total milk production.
New Zealand’s dairy farmers across the country produced 1.9 billion kilograms of milksolids in 2014/15.
Mr Luxton retired at today’s meeting, after more than a decade of service to the industry body. He was farewelled in front of an audience of around more than 80 people, which included farmers and DairyNZ board and management.
Minister for Primary Industries, Hon Nathan Guy, attended the AGM and paid tribute to Mr Luxton, presenting him with a certificate in recognition of his contribution to the dairy industry.
DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle said Mr Luxton “had been a rock for DairyNZ”, bringing “great mana and leadership” to the organisation. “We are all very appreciative of what you have done for us.”
Three positions on the DairyNZ Board of Directors were also announced – with farmer-elected candidates Ben Allomes (Woodville), Michael Spaans (Te Aroha) and Elaine Cook (Hamilton) being voted in as directors. When the new DairyNZ board meets for the first time in November, one of its first tasks will be to elect a chair. In the meantime, the board will appoint an interim chair.
A second election for the Directors’ Remuneration Committee saw David Gasquoine (Matamata) Chris Lewis (Pukeatua) and Gerard Wolvers (Te Awamutu) voted in.
Mr Mackle said that DairyNZ had built a powerful base of more than $80 million worth of annual dairy research and development and regional farmer support systems and advocacy. ““The 2014/15 season was a tough year, and the year we are in now is even tougher. Our Tactics work for farmers will be a big focus for us in the year ahead.
“In this current financial year we are keeping the priority on research and development as DairyNZ’s biggest spend at $18 million, followed by farm profit at $17 million,” said Mr Mackle.
“Our investment in environmental stewardship and biosecurity this financial year is also increasing, with both areas boosted by 2.3 and 1.5 percent respectively for 2015/16.”
DairyNZ’s 2014/15 Annual Report is available here