Now preparing to move on in October, Alister hopes to encourage other dairy farmers to put themselves forward for the “fantastic job”.
Two positions on DairyNZ’s Board of Directors are currently up for election, including Alister’s role, with farmer nominations being taken until 12noon Friday, September 8.
As DairyNZ’s longest-standing elected director, Alister has had a front-row seat as New Zealand dairy farming transitioned into a world-leading industry for producing food.
In 12 years, the industry has grown – from an average 322 cow herd to 419 and the national milking herd from 3.8 million to 5 million cows. And where the North Island once dominated with 69 percent of milk production, now the south is catching up with 43 percent.
It’s these changes, and the aligned need for sustainable farm systems, that has kept Alister motivated in working for dairy farmers through industry good body, DairyNZ.
“The industry has grown incredibly and so has DairyNZ. There has been a tremendous increase in the demands on farmers over those years – and DairyNZ has a key role in supporting them from policy and advocacy through to information and tools for the farm.”
And his enthusiasm hasn’t waned one bit as he’s worked with seven other directors in navigating the industry’s future.
“Looking ahead, we must stay competitive, profitable and farm within environmental limits, and that is a huge challenge,” says Alister. “Our farm systems research will be increasingly important going forward.”
When Alister began on the Dairy Insight board (one of DairyNZ’s two predecessor organisations) he was a Methven dairy farmer, wanting more industry involvement.
A highlight in his role turned out to be the successful merger of Dairy Insight with Dexcel (which undertook work funded by Dairy Insight). “There were two organisations for industry good and it was believed putting them together would be better for farmers by being more efficient and effective.”
He says DairyNZ has done just that – with an impressive breadth of work now covered off for levy-paying dairy farmers.
“I have enjoyed my time with DairyNZ, it really does make a difference for farmers and the industry. As a board member, you are right across whole gamut of the industry – it’s a fantastic job,” says Alister.
“And working with people who live and breathe dairy farming, it’s great to be part of that.”
In his time, Alister has also clocked up roles as chair of the Dairy Environment Leaders Group, the former Human Capability Leadership Group and the newly-formed Canterbury Dairy Leaders Group. He is also a Pastoral Genomics board member.
Advice to candidates
Alister says any dairy farmers considering the Board of Directors roles will use their farm experience to channel industry investment and have a broad oversight and input into DairyNZ operations.
“I hope this gives an opportunity for someone new to use their governance experience and add to the industry with their passion for dairy and willingness to dedicate time to the industry.”
After DairyNZ, Alister will continue as Ashburton Trading Society (RuralCo NZ) chair and pursue other opportunities in governance.
DairyNZ chair Michael Spaans says Alister’s industry experience and commonsense around the Board table has been invaluable.
“Alister has always had dairy farmers at heart and understood the impact DairyNZ can have for them, which has added value for levy payers. Being the only South Island director also gave us a great connection to Canterbury, along with his drive to expand our role in Southland.
“The Board thanks him for contributing to DairyNZ’s direction on behalf of dairy farmers, and wish him all the best for future.”
DairyNZ director election – nominations close soon
Nominations are currently being taken for two roles on the DairyNZ Board of Directors and one on the Directors Remuneration Committee.
Nominations close 12noon Friday, September 8.
Levy paying dairy farmers are invited to nominate candidates – for more information visit dairynz.co.nz/agm or for nomination packs contact the returning officer ph0800 666 033, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit electionz.com/dairynz.
In late September, voter packs will be sent to all registered DairyNZ levy payers, with voting closing at 12noon Tuesday, October 24 2017.
The successful candidates will be named at the DairyNZ Annual General Meeting in Rotorua on October 25.
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