Stepping back but still lending my support

New Federated Farmers North Otago president Otto Dogterom. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
New Federated Farmers North Otago president Otto Dogterom. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Apologies for my absence last month but I’m sure all dairy farmers can relate to the madness that is May!

Since I last wrote there has been a rejig at Federated Farmers North Otago with a shuffling of bums on seats.

Those who are members will be aware of the new roles but for those not across it I shall fill you in.

I have stepped down as provincial president and Otto Dogterom has stepped into the role. I have slid back into my old role as dairy chairwoman for North Otago and look forward to advocating for dairy in the coming year.

I also stepped into the role of vice-president to support Otto as what became apparent during my time at the helm is this is a tough job to do, and hopefully I can offer some small assistance to Otto as vice-president.

Otto has an amazing ability to stand up and advocate for the sector, especially locally, as has been shown with his dealings with the Waitaki DC. He brings a balanced view point and a deep understanding of the need to progress while still ensuring farming is financially viable. We are all in safe hands!

Prior to the annual meeting we spent the day having a strategy session, planning the future for North Otago Federated Farmers and how we can best serve our farmer members. We had it facilitated by Tupu Strategic so that we would be kept on track and come out with a clear path forward.

We are very excited to share that we now have an amazing new strategy and cannot wait to share that with you over the coming months.

One of the key areas to focus on needs to be on our own area and our issues. The national issues, while important, can distract us from our key focus which will always be North Otago itself. In fact many in the area struggle with the national direction of Feds and so we feel the need to run our own ship down here.

With that in mind we are looking at better ways to engage with our local members and provide value to them. This is always a challenge as ultimately a lot of the work we do benefits those who are members but also those who do not sign up.

As this is an extremely difficult year for many in our area we can understand this, but it does not make it easy for us to advocate to councils and the like when we are not the majority voice for farming in our area.

That being said, our focus on keeping the home fires burning should help locals see the value in being a member so that we can build numbers and be that single voice for farming.

Bring on the next 12 months and all it will bring us.