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Farming in a fishbowl: Insights from environmental leaders – James Ryan

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Executive summary

In recent years there has been increased public and media scrutiny of the performance of dairy farming in New Zealand. As a result there are mixed views about dairying in New Zealand. In response to increased community pressure the dairy sector is implementing a range of significant initiatives to enhance its environmental performance. While it is opportune for the dairy sector to reflect on the improvements that it has made in recent years, it is also timely to consider what other initiatives can be undertaken to maintain and improve its reputation.

As part of my project I have canvassed the views of some of the sector’s biggest critics to consider what else the dairy sector could do to improve its environmental performance and reputation. The key recommendations arising from these discussions involve:

  1. Evaluate whether the dairy sector is consistently and clearly articulating its position on freshwater limit setting.
  2. Evaluate how environmental poor performance is currently managed and identify opportunities for improvement.
  3. Identify opportunities to tell environmental success stories more effectively including through the involvement of farmers and the environmental sector.
  4. Convene a workshop between the dairy sector and environmental leaders to explore opportunities for ongoing dialogue and partnership.
  5. Explore opportunities to articulate the extent to which the dairy sector is investing in the “value – added” component of dairy exports and communicate this to environmental leaders and other stakeholders.

Farming in a fishbowl: Insights from environmental leaders – James Ryan