‘We should all be so proud’: farmers reflect on year

South Island Dairy Event committee chairwoman Anna Wakelin
South Island Dairy Event committee chairwoman Anna Wakelin
Dynamic s a great word to describe New Zealand’s dairy farmers in 2022, South Island Dairy Event committee chairwoman Anna Wakelin says.

That was why it had been chosen as the theme for Side, the South Island’s largest dairy event which was held in Oamaru on June 8 and 9.

"We are a dynamic industry and want the best for our animals, land and people," Mrs Wakelin said.

She and her husband Tony farm in South Canterbury and she was proud to produce nourishing food for the world.

"We should all be so proud to farm," she said in the opening addresses to the event.

Dairy farmers put in the "hard yards" every day, created jobs and supported communities, while producing milk that went into everyday items, from cheese topping

pizzas to ice-cream to soothe Covid-19 sore throats, she said.

It also provided $20.9billion in revenue for New Zealand.

DairyNZ South Island head of farm performance Tony Finch said farmers continued to operate in very dynamic — "and some would say unprecedented" times.

While the sector had had to navigate the challenges of Covid-19 and also the likes of the relentless nature of regulations, it was also good to reflect on the "good stuff" that had happened in the past 12 months and beyond, he said.

There was a record milk price and strong dairy demand continued.

The industry had been a critical part of the country’s economy in Covid times.

Implementation of winter intensive grazing good practice on farm was "so much better than before" — "it’s a major challenge but we’ve come a long way" — and farmers had also got through labour issues and weather adversity.

It was important to start thinking about the year ahead and continue to attract, retain and grow staff who were "our most important asset", he said.

It was the first time Side had been held in Oamaru and, as well as keynote speakers, it included a variety of practical workshops on a wide range of topics from wintering to milk futures, reproduction, plantain and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.





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