A certification scheme designed to give farmers confidence in the quality and standard of the advice they receive from their dairy farm systems consultants was launched today at the New Zealand Institute for Primary Industries Management (NZIPIM) national conference in Ashburton.
Development of the scheme has involved a collaborative partnership between DairyNZ, leading dairy farm systems consultants, and NZIPIM, who will continue to be involved in developing and testing the scheme’s assessment tools and associated training to ensure the material is kept current and relevant to the profession.
The Dairy Farm Systems Certification Scheme will also be used to recognise and promote the competency of consultants working on industry programmes such as the DairyNZ Sustainable Milk Plans, Whole Farm Assessments, and interpretation of DairyBase benchmarking reports.
NZIPIM chief executive Stephen Macaulay says that in the current environment, farmers need assurance in the advice they receive.
“Dairy farmers across New Zealand are currently experiencing significant challenges with price volatility, and at the same time, scrutiny from consumers and local communities to ensure food is produced to a high standard and in a sustainable manner.
“To become certified, consultants will have to pass a competency assessment across all aspects of the farm system, complete an ethics module, receive positive feedback from farmer clients on their knowledge base and communication skills, and provide evidence of ‘in the field’ work such as Whole Farm Assessments - a process for reporting on all aspects of the farm system, identifying risks and opportunities and forming recommendations in line with the farm business strategy,” he said.
“The scheme recognises the competency and capability of farm consultants and provides a level of surety for the farming community in the quality of the advice they receive, and in time provide regional councils, banks, accountants and milk companies with increased confidence in making referrals,” said Stephen.
To date, nine consultants have begun their assessment and it is expected that the majority of practicing consultants will work towards certification within the next few years. A list of certified consultants will be maintained on the NZIPIM’s website and promoted via other industry websites.
The Dairy Farm Systems Consultant Certification Scheme is an initiative funded by New Zealand dairy farmers through DairyNZ and the Ministry for Primary Industries as part of the Transforming the Dairy Value Chain Primary Growth Partnership programme. The scheme adds to the suite of available programmes including Certified People Management Consultants, Certified Nutrient Management Advisers, Certified Body Condition Score Assessors, Certified Effluent Warrant of Fitness Assessors and Accredited Effluent Designers.
Further information about the NZIPIM Dairy Farm Systems Certification Scheme and other related programmes can be found at www.nzipim.co.nz.
For more information, contact:
Chief Executive, New Zealand Institute of Primary Industry Management
Phone 027 226 3331