March and April turned out to be eventful and busy months for dairy farms.
Most farmers have had to make a number of changes on farm to meet COVID- 19 restrictions. It’ s been great to see the focus farmers place on keeping staff safe - with farmers ensuring they stay in their bubble and taking extra steps to protect their teams.
We all share concerns about the health and economic effects COVID- 19 will have on our families, communities and New Zealand. As a sector we have been fortunate to be classified as an essential service and to have the opportunity to keep working when so many other businesses and people have not been able to.
During this time, DairyNZ has been working closely with MPI, milk supply companies, Federated Farmers, Dairy Women’ s Network and other key industry groups to support farmers to operate safely in this new environment.
Panic buying going into lockdown brought home to Kiwis the key role our farming sector plays in ensuring we have more than enough food available to restock our supermarkets. We can be proud to support our country – both by providing a secure food supply and continuing to provide j obs and export products – at a time when we need food and income security.
Here at DairyNZ it’ s been busy too. We have also had to change the way we work, with most of our team working from home during the lockdown.
We have been focused on communicating changing requirements to farmers and working with other key organisations to find solutions for farmers which meet COVID-19 req uirements.
We have been advocating for farmers to ensure migrant workers on farms have certainty about future work req uirements, and we were pleased to see a visa extension announced recently.
Many farms also have roles to fill and we have been working with the government to develop options for skilled Kiwis to get into a dairy career.
We have also been working with a range of organisations on ‘ Moving Day’ and on what processes could be applied to protect the health of everyone involved.
It’ s been a tricky time with lots of changing req uirements and we have been working hard to keep you informed on the latest news. Our website is home to all the latest information, visit dairynz.co.nz/covid19 for advice, or call us on 0800 4 DAIRYNZ (0800 4 324 7969).
Finally, in May dairy farmers have the opportunity to vote on whether the milksolids levy - which funds DairyNZ and several of our partners to carry out a wide range of services and research for dairy farmers - should continue. The vote can’ t be delayed as it’ s set by legislation.
With dairy playing such an important role for our economy currently, and plenty of challenges on the horizon, I believe it’ s important for all farmers to have their say and vote by the closing date of May 30. Look out for your voting pack or visit dairynz.co.nz/vote for information.
Article supplied by DairyNZ