Top-level recognition that the dairy industry is the powerhouse of the New Zealand economy has added extra emphasis to an upcoming dairy industry showcase conference.
The New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) report released just before Christmas valued the dairy industry’s contribution at $10.4 billion dollars in 2009, making it the country’s biggest export earner.
“That’s the clearest demonstration you can get that the future of the dairy industry is crucial to the success of the whole country,” says Phil Butler, Chairman of the group organising the New Zealand Dairy Business Conference 2011.
“Our April conference in Rotorua will explore ways of driving this valuable sector of the economy to greater achievements, and that has to be good for all New Zealand. Thanks to this NZIER report, everyone can now understand the tangible benefits to both rural and urban communities."
Hosted by the New Zealand Large Herds Association and Summit Quinphos, the conference has adopted the theme 2020 Vision, with all speakers at the four-day event looking to the future.
“Business leaders will discuss ways of advancing agricultural performance, and that will aid continued growth of 1-3 percent, benefiting the economy as a whole.”
Mr Butler says it is widely acknowledged that New Zealand dairy farmers tend to have greater know-how than their counterparts across the world, and this is bolstered by their focus on innovation and seeking opportunity.
“The NZIER report provides the evidence that export growth from the dairy sector has helped everyone through lower interest rates on mortgages and other borrowings by narrowing the current account deficit."
The report, commissioned by dairy giant Fonterra and Dairy NZ, says dairy exports for 2009 totalled $10.4 billion – about 26 per cent of all goods exports. Significantly, an increase of $1 a kg in the Fonterra payout to farmer shareholders equates to about $1.2 billion in extra spending throughout the economy.
Rural communities share in the benefits whenever farmers go spending, the report shows. Farmers typically spent about half of the $7.5 billion value of raw milk output – $3.6 billion – on local products such as fertiliser, feed and agricultural and financial services, in addition to labour charges for about 35,000 workers.
“Volume and price growth in the sector has delivered benefits to a wide range of sectors outside of the dairy industry, and has generated living standard improvements across New Zealand’s regional economies, including in metropolitan areas such as Auckland and Wellington,” the report states.
“That’s why the nation’s premier dairy business conference in April is so important to so many sectors,” adds Mr Butler.
“We are pleased we have been able to attract such a heavyweight contingent of industry leaders and commentators to our 42nd annual conference. It has the potential to unite the New Zealand dairy industry and properly reflect the size of its contribution to the nation’s economy.”
On the business side, the 2011 conference will hear 2020 Vision strategies from Andrew Ferrier, chief executive at Fonterra, backed by Mark Weldon, CEO at NZX, and Air NZ CEO Rob Fyfe.
It also includes “how to” talks by business entrepreneurs and the latest rural sector analysis from respected scientists such as Massey University’s Professor Jacqueline Rowarth.
More information about all the speakers at the New Zealand Dairy Business Conference 2011, 4-7 April 2011 at the Rotorua Energy Events Centre, is available via the www.nzlargeherds.co.nz website.
20 January 2011