Home' Straight Furrow 70th Anniversary : Dec 19 2011 Contents Straight Furrow • December 19, 2011 37
STRAIGHT FURROW CELEBRATING 70 YEARS -- LOOKING AHEAD
IN the past 70 years the lives of
women on dairy farms have changed
markedly. Many women are now
more educated and more involved in
the business of farming than their
As farms get larger and more com-
plex, smaller rural communities are
becoming fewer and less active.
It seems unlikely that the pace of
change will slow during the next 70
years as new technologies are tested
and implemented on our farms, and
our communities continue to change.
"Women more than ever need a sup-
portive community in which to grow
their skills in husbandry, business man-
agement and leadership," says Sarah
Speight, CEO of the Dairy Women's
"Our 3000 women come from all
walks of life and all stages of their
careers. The Dairy Women's Network is
one way women have of connecting
with like-minded women."
"In March each year we hold our
annual national conference," said Sarah.
"The theme for 2012 is 'Dairying with
Resilience'. The keynote addresses and
workshops over the two days aim to
equip our women to meet the chal-
lenges of an industry that will continue
to prosper over the next 70 years."
THE future of NZ as a first-world
country and its primary produc-
tion are inextricably linked. We
are as a nation greatly blessed with a
climate, soils, topography that is the
source of our wealth. Sadly the current
commodity price increases we are cur-
rently seeing are not in any way due to
the way we do the business of selling
to the world.
History has surely taught us that the
strong (sellers and buyers) survive and
the weak and fragmented don't.
The future of NZ therefore lies with
our ability to change and to adapt new
technologies very rapidly to meet the
changing world's needs.
Our meat industry co-ops and our
biggest wool suppliers must unite to
market slipe wool as a start.
Personality-based leadership within
the sheep industry must be replaced
with 'NZ Inc' leadership.
Farmers of all types of livestock and
land types will work even more closely
together to complement and integrate
productive capacity. Dairy grazing and
wintering off the milking platform is
the first step in achieving sound envi-
ronmental and production outcomes.
Those areas of lamb finishing country
still available to the sheep industry will
become totally specialist finishers to
supply the international markets on a
12months of a year basis.
Grass markets will disappear as
"store" stock producers lock into long-
term contracts with the finishers.
Research into better species of grass
and crops to enable faster growth rates
in livestock will continue unabated.
Such stock must be identifiable.
Genetic modification (GM) is certain
to play an important role in plant
breeding and disease resistance.
The costs associated with production
will rise even more rapidly.
Politically, the future also heralds --
with absolute certainty -- the introduc-
tion of a capital gains tax and a tax on
water use, which once introduced will
never be repealed.
WHEN thousands of New
Zealanders and our share-
holders celebrated Fonterra's
10th anniversary around the country
on Labour Day, it also marked a signifi-
cant milestone for our dairy industry.
The decision taken 10 years ago to
form a business with the scale to
become a world leader in dairy ingredi-
ents and boost dairying's contribution
to New Zealand's economy has been
truly validated. In our 2011 record
results distributed milk payments and
dividends totalled $10.6 billion -- $1.5
billion more than our previous best
year back in 2008. It was a result that
demonstrated to our shareholders and
fellow Kiwis that there has never been
a better time to be in dairy.
Across all our key markets, economic
and lifestyle trends are fuelling con-
sumer demand for quality dairy prod-
ucts and opening up exciting new
opportunities for Fonterra.
The world population hit seven bil-
lion a few weeks ago -- and demand for
food is forecast to double by 2050.
In the big Asian markets, the appetite
for dairy is growing seven times faster
than the rest of the world combined.
The middle classes are exploding as
more and more people have money in
their pockets. They're looking to spend
that money on nutritious food choices
and dairy is on the shopping list.
Another 10 years on, where will New
Zealand's dairy sector and Fonterra
be? Anyone who knows dairy also
knows we must always manage global
volatility. But the vision our sharehold-
ers had a decade ago to create a busi-
ness with scale and geographic reach
means we are in a sweet spot.
New Zealanders can expect plenty
more good results to flow into the
economy from dairy.
Corporation has been part of the
fabric of New Zealand dairying
for more than 102 years. Today LIC's
business still holds strongly to our
founding vision, which is to improve
the net incomes of New Zealand dairy
We are so much more than an AB,
herd testing, herd recording, DNA
analysis, animal health, consultancy or
farm automation business.
Today's LIC provides a diverse and
growing range of products and servic-
es which help farmers be more prof-
itable and make farming easier and
Land, grass, cow, herd, shed, and
farm management are all so closely
inter-related as essential ingredients of
farm profitability and LIC is well posi-
tioned to co-ordinate and integrate
data capture and information solutions
for the new generation of farmers who
are becoming very hi-tech in their
requirements. It is only through tech-
nology at every level (from placid high
performance cows to shed automation)
that one person can milk 1000 cows on
their own with 50 to 60 sets of cups.
The next decade will likely bring 1000
with no-one placing cups on.
Every investment LIC is making posi-
tions us well for the medium to long
term as we are fully committed to
enhancing our core business, which
revolves around our partnership and
support of NZ dairy farmers.
The Dairy Women's
SIR HENRY VAN DER
Former ACT M.P.
and Central Otago
THIS issue of Straight Furrow com-
memorates some challenging
times in our farming history over
the last 70 years.
I recently picked up a copy of Gordon
McLauchlan's book The Farming of New
Zealand printed in 1981, which reminded
me how tough it was to be a farmer
much of the time in those not too dis-
tant days. The last 70 years were in
many ways an idyllic time when the
importance of farming was recognised
and its purpose in producing food for a
hungry world was generally appreciated
The next few decades will bring new
challenges for those who farm the land,
including feeding the predicted 2.5 mil-
lion kiwis by then in residence.
Land holdings will increase in size,
albeit at a slower rate than is currently
being experienced, and partnerships will
be more important in providing owner-
ship opportunities for young farmers,
who will be more technically skilled
than their forbears.
Increasing energy costs will drive a
search for new energy sources on farm --
'sustainability' will remain the catch-
word on most environmental issues.
Water conservation may deserve some
encouragement and water quality stan-
dards will be under increasing pressure.
Seventy years on, farmers will still be
feeding the world. Straight Furrow,
though the format may change, will still
be providing information that the farm-
ers of tomorrow will require.
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