Questions & Answers

The questions and answers below explain more about our commitments and goals.

Why doesn’t the Strategy include the specific actions you are going to take, metrics or detail about implementation?

This is a Strategic vision rather than a plan. We don’t yet have all the answers as to what it will take to achieve them. We know that this will be a team effort, we need to collaborate with others on a plan to achieve our shared goals. The real work of the Strategy starts now, as we develop the actions we’ll take and we will be doing that in conjunction with partners, farmers and key stakeholders, including central and local government.

We’ve undertaken to be transparent and open, which means we’ll report regularly on our performance. We’ve committed to having key milestones and metrics identified by June 2018.

Are you actually planning to do anything new?

There will definitely be some new initiatives, and there could also be a prioritisation of focus for the work that is already underway.

Some of the new initiatives that we are committed to developing include working with communities on the long term blue print for what land use in New Zealand should look like; a Government-industry collaboration to develop a National science challenge; promoting the nutritional value of New Zealand milk; and for all farmers to adopt a framework for world leading animal care.

What is the 18 month transition phase for?

This a Refresh of our existing strategy, so there is a significant work programme already underway. We have allowed some time to transition to the new commitments and goals where they might require a reorientation or reprioritising of our current work.

For example, the Sustainable Dairying Workplace Action Plan has been developed under the current Strategy and will take time implement.

How does this fit with the Sustainable Dairy Water Accord and the pledge by primary sector leaders with respect to water quality?

We are dealing with an issue in some areas that has been 80-100 years or more in the making, and it will take some time to reverse the impact.

Under the environmental commitment there is a goal to lead efforts to improve the health of our rivers and streams and protect and enhance biodiversity. This starts in 2018 and requires collaboration with others on what strategies and actions could be taken. We’re aiming to have key milestones and metrics identified by June 2018.

Are there some goals that are priorities?

There are differing timeframes for goals in the Strategy but that doesn’t mean they are lesser priorities. In some cases we need to build frameworks before we can make changes. In other cases the goals themselves will always be a work in progress and it just isn’t possible to put a timeline on them.

When we write our implementation action we’ll have milestones and targets that will provide transparency and accountability for our progress toward them.

2025 seems like a long time for implementing some of these goals, why is there not more urgency?

We still see 2025 as a stretch for these goals, because they involve achieving significant operational changes across all farms, or because they involve more proactive engagement with the community and building trust.

Why don’t you have a target for reducing GHG emissions?

We want to lead efforts on how agriculture can contribute to meeting New Zealand’s climate change reduction goals, including reducing or offsetting GHG emissions from dairy farming. We have our Dairy Action for Climate Change underway, in partnership with Government, and Fonterra’s recently announced reduction commitment.

Why don’t you have a deadline or targets for water quality improvements?

Improving water quality is a complex challenge that has to be pursued at a local level with the community. We are already operating within regional targets that have been established through the limit setting process.

Isn’t reducing herd numbers the most effectively solution to over allocation and environmental impacts?

We don’t support growth or intensification where this will exceed environmental limits. However the capping of cow numbers is too simplistic. We want outcome-based policies and a planned approach to sustainable land use.

Why have you selected these environmental goals?

There has been significant work toward achieving the goals of the Dairy Sustainability Water Accord, as well as on research that will support farmers to reduce their environmental footprint.

More recently participants in the sector have made commitments with respect to addressing GHG emissions, for example the Dairy Action for Climate Change and Fonterra’s recently announced reduction commitments.

The next phase of the sector’s actions require tackling more complex challenges, like working toward swimmable waterways or achieving New Zealand’s climate change commitments, so we need to work on them with the wider primary sector and other land users to make a difference. Some of this change will be at the farm level, but we believe a broader change across New Zealand is needed that encompasses government, all land users and communities.

We are also committed to working toward a clearer long term view of sustainable land use in New Zealand. Developing this vision will take time because the issues are complex. What we will be doing sooner (from 2018) is develop the benchmarks and targets that future farm systems may need to achieve and to report on how the sector is performing against these.

Finally, having certified farm sustainability plans will support farmers and the sector to demonstrate their performance. This includes being able to participate in global reporting initiatives to improve sustainability such as the Dairy Sustainability Framework.

What does it mean to be ‘world leading in on-farm animal care’?

Expectations of consumers and the public are always evolving. As a sector we need to be future-focussed and have a framework that is dynamic and supports continuous improvement.

Why is your goal to have ‘New Zealand’s most talented workforce’?

The importance of people came up consistently throughout the development of the strategy. Our farmers, and the wider sector, want to have a strong culture that values people and creates vibrant teams, as well as fundamentally prioritising the health, wellbeing and safety of our people.

We believe dairy can provide an inspiring profession with great career options, and we heard clearly from famers that they want support from the sector to encourage students and young people to consider a dairy career. We are going to be developing a range of new initiatives to be implemented by 2020 that will help to achieve this.

What does this community goal mean?

We have heard strongly we need to do more to engage with our communities, whether rural or urban. We believe we can play a role in building stronger communities around New Zealand, as well as being an advocate to help our rural areas to have the infrastructure and services they need to be vibrant and prosperous.

We have also included an aspirational goal to be a highly trusted business sector in New Zealand by 2025. We need to find an appropriate metric, but this is a key way we’ll hold ourselves to account for our engagement with the communities and working to build trust.

There seem to be a lot of things being asked of farmers? Aren’t these just building more costs and telling farmers what to do.

Several goals relate to action at the farm level and we will ensure that they are implemented in a holistic and integrated way that is efficient and cost- effective for farmers. Farmers will also be closely involved in how they are developed and implemented.