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Director encourages farmers to consider ‘fantastic job’

When Canterbury dairy farmer Alister Body became a director 12 years ago, it was a desire to be part of industry decision-making which got him there.

Now preparing to move on in October 2017, Alister hopes to encourage other dairy farmers to put themselves forward for the “fantastic job”.

Two positions on DairyNZ’s Board of Directors are currently up for election, including Alister’s role, with farmer nominations being taken until 12noon Friday, September 8 2017.

As DairyNZ’s longest-standing elected director, Alister has had a front-row seat as New Zealand dairy farming transitioned into a world-leading industry for producing food.

In 12 years, the industry has grown – from an average 322 cow herd to 419 and the national milking herd from 3.8 million to 5 million cows. And where the North Island once dominated with 69 percent of milk production, now the south is catching up with 43 percent.

It’s these changes, and the aligned need for sustainable farm systems, that has kept Alister motivated in working for dairy farmers through industry good body, DairyNZ.

“The industry has grown incredibly and so has DairyNZ. There has been a tremendous increase in the demands on farmers over those years – and DairyNZ has a key role in supporting them from policy and advocacy through to information and tools for the farm.”

And his enthusiasm hasn’t waned one bit as he’s worked with seven other directors in navigating the industry’s future.

“Looking ahead, we must stay competitive, profitable and farm within environmental limits, and that is a huge challenge,” says Alister.

“Our farm systems research will be increasingly important going forward.”

When Alister began on the Dairy Insight board (one of DairyNZ’s two predecessor organisations) he was a Methven dairy farmer, wanting more industry involvement.

A highlight in his role turned out to be the successful merger of Dairy Insight with Dexcel (which undertook work funded by Dairy Insight).

“There were two organisations for industry good and it was believed putting them together would be better for farmers by being more efficient and effective.”

He says DairyNZ has done just that – with an impressive breadth of work now covered off for levy-paying dairy farmers.

“I have enjoyed my time with DairyNZ, it really does make a difference for farmers and the industry. As a board member, you are right across whole gamut of the industry – it’s a fantastic job,” says Alister.

“And working with people who live and breathe dairy farming, it’s great to be part of that.”

In his time, Alister has also clocked up roles as chair of the Dairy Environment Leaders Group, the former Human Capability Leadership Group and the newly-formed Canterbury Dairy Leaders Group. He is also a Pastoral Genomics board member.

Source: Dairy NZ

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