Hunua farmer Amber Carpenter is DairyNZ’s new Dairy Environment Leaders chair, responsible for continuing to drive the farmer-led network forward.
Dairy Environment Leaders is a DairyNZ-supported farmer initiative launched 14 years ago and now involves 400 dairy farmer members nationwide, who work with dairy farmers, communities and decision-makers to drive positive progress.
DairyNZ general manager for sustainable dairy, Dr David Burger, says Dairy Environment Leaders have a focus on sharing the sector’s great work and leading by example, in reducing environmental footprint.
“Amber has a diverse background and brings excellent strategic and relationship-building skills to the role, and we look forward to her supporting the Dairy Environment Leaders network to continue its positive work around New Zealand,” says David.
Along with the national leadership role, Amber will also support the network’s regional committees, connecting and influencing other farmers, and fostering a sense of community.
“The Dairy Environment Leaders network helps dairy farmers and rural communities navigate the changes and challenges ahead,” says Amber. “Together, we can make a huge difference.”
Amber and her husband Fraser are sharemilkers on a Paparimu dairy and beef farm, milking 450 cows. They’re now in their ninth season. The couple put a plan in place every season to lower their environmental footprint, such as reducing nitrogen and fertiliser inputs, as well as imported feed.
“As sharemilkers we work with what is in our control,” Amber says. “Understanding our numbers is key. Working with farm owners who value environmental sustainability is important to us and we appreciate working with farm owners on Farm Environment Plans, particularly being involved in the conversations when it comes to planting and fencing off wetlands.
“All the small changes each day and each season help us make a bigger overall impact.”
The Dairy Environment Leaders chair role appeals to Amber as a way to help drive change for a better future. Formerly working in the fashion industry, she swapped heels for gumboots in 2018, after many years supporting Fraser on-farm on a part-time basis.
“After we had our first son I realised I needed to decide whether to continue an urban life following my career, or live a rural life following Fraser’s,” she says.
Now Amber can’t imagine doing anything else – and wants to give back to the sector she’s grown to love.
“I see the Dairy Environment Leaders chair role as a great opportunity to put my skills and experience to great use and give back to an industry my family and I are grateful to be a part of,” Amber says. “We all experience similar challenges and need to support each other in a fast-changing environment.”
Amber replaces Waikato dairy farmer Melissa Slattery as chair. Melissa has stepped down to focus more on her farm and family – and to enable a fellow Dairy Environment Leader to further develop their leadership.
“Melissa played a key role in driving environmental change across New Zealand over her three years in the role,” David says. “We appreciate her strong leadership, advocacy and hard work over the past three years and wish her well for the future.”
Visit Dairy Environment Leaders Forum - DairyNZ for more information about the Dairy Environment Leaders network.
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