Media: Dairy farming needs a clear vision for the future

First published: Farmers Weekly 13 April 2015

The government’s Business Growth Agenda demands we double food exports (mainly dairy) by 2025. Even if we could do that with the current state of the art, where would we put the millions of additional cows required? Which rivers and lakes should we sacrifice? Which rural communities will shoulder the crippling debt of dairy conversions? Growth for it’s own sake is the methodology of the cancer cell. That cannot be our future.

The message that’s missing is a clear vision of our sustainable agricultural future. An agricultural sector that progressively decouples itself from volatile commodity prices; that rewards farmers with greater value-add income, not just ever increasing costs in a race to the bottom; and that is truly environmentally sustainable. The only winning future for our dairy industry is one that acknowledges our limits, then makes the best of working within them.