A planned ''one-stop shop'' dairy hub in Southland will give
industry organisations the chance to collaborate and utilise
one central space, Southland Demonstration Farm business
manager Stacy McNaught says.
The Southern Dairy Development Trust owns the Southland
Demonstration Farm Trust which operates the demonstration
farm in Wallacetown, and has proposed the new $26.5 million
dairy hub to replace the demonstration farm, the lease of
which runs out in 2016.
The hub would have three aspects to it: a functioning
commercial 300-380 hectare farm milking 850-950 dairy cows; a
business, education, and extension hub which would have
offices and spaces for other organisations to base
themselves; and research facilities.
''Industry organisations will be able to utilise the hub -
they could choose to base themselves there.
''Schools and the community should be able to embrace this
facility - it will be a one-stop shop.''
Mr McNaught said the profile of the demonstration farm was
always increasing but it could not handle large groups of
people touring through it, so the new hub would include space
for the education purposes, as well as being able to cater
for large school and university groups.
Research was also an important part of the facility, as
research from North Island centres and areas outside of
Southland could be hard to apply to the region due to its
unique landscape and countryside.
''Demand for local research is greatly increasing. To me,
it's a natural progression to have a dedicated research
facility. This isn't just a pet project - it's necessary for
While the trust was talking with private funders, Southland
farmers would also be asked to contribute to the funding of
the facility at varying levels, he said, with most farmers
being asked to ''effectively contribute a cow or the
equivalent of that in cash''.
Having Southland farmers contributing to the cost of the
project showed ownership and meant people could take the
''In order to be taken seriously, we have to show that we as
a community want it. If you are just given something, it
might not be supported. Farmers are already recognising that
they will support this,'' Mr McNaught said.
Southland Federated Farmers president Russell Macpherson said
the project benefited everyone.
''It will be a research farm based on a commercial reality,
which is good for not only dairy farmers, but also the
community because as farmers become more efficient, they use
their resources in a better way, so there's less impact on
the environment. They make more money and they spend more
Mr MacPherson said it would be up to each individual farmer
to decide whether or not to give money towards the project,
as well as paying their levies to Dairy NZ and the trust.
''Just like anything, some farmers will be happy to pay and
some farmers won't be. It's really important that it's a
robust enterprise, and farmers will be asking that
- by Leeana Tamati