Following the national COVID-19 lockdown, a Moving Day Working Group including DairyNZ, Federated Farmers, Fonterra and FMG formed to identify solutions for the safe movement of people, livestock, machinery and goods when the new dairy season begins (June 1), while dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
The groups urgently advocated to Government to provide guidance for dairy farmers nationwide.
"We are pleased the certainty we sought has been provided and dairy farmers now have reassurance they can move to new farms for the new dairy season in a way that also keeps them and the public as safe as possible," said DairyNZ chief executive, Dr Tim Mackle.
"Now we have clarity, we will be supporting dairy farmers with the detail to ensure their moves are safe and undertaken within the guidelines, particularly staying within their 'bubbles'.
"Being able to move will reduce concerns around animal welfare, farmer wellbeing and economic impacts which had potential to arise from any delay to Moving Day."
Each year thousands of dairy farmers, sharemilkers, contract milkers and employees move to new farms to commence new employment, and contract milking or sharemilking contracts. Even without COVID-19 restrictions this is a huge logistical exercise, often spanning many days to get animals, gear and people relocated in a safe and secure manner.
"Moving Week is a key part of the life of the dairy sector. This is how we enable people to progress their careers and their businesses," said Federated Farmers national dairy chair, Chris Lewis.
"It might sound strange to our friends living in the city, that we all move our families and stock around at the same time, but it’s actually a tightly planned and executed operation. We are confident we will be able to do this in a way that maintains health and safety protocols.
"And it must happen now, because we are all linked in together to follow the seasonal nature of farming, Mother Nature waits for no-one and in July we have new calves coming."
Guidelines for farmers to ensure human safety and animal welfare needs are met will be available from DairyNZ and Federated Farmers.
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