Around 450 dairy farmers attending the South Island Dairy Event (SIDE) in Ashburton heard about the need for continued transformation in a changing farming environment.
The two-day event opened with keynote speaker Dr Ceri Evans, who discussed mental performance under pressure and how to respond better to challenges.
“People often respond with an instinctive response under pressure. In these states people can overreact, and have difficulty thinking or acting. You need to know your state to control how you respond. People can also choose to respond in a more positive way, involving thinking, curiosity, exploring and connecting,” explained Dr Evans.
“If you want to reach your potential you need to explore your limits. Think about ‘How do I get better?’ which is by staying in the discomfort and trying to problem solve. Mindset and attitude are the big things that you can change.”
SIDE chairman Andrew Slater said that dairy cannot ignore the need for businesses to evolve and meet upcoming challenges.
“The agricultural sector is constantly facing multi-faceted challenge and change. We have all survived these challenges to date, relying on resilience, foresight and getting on with it,” said Mr Slater.
“With continued environmental challenges, changes in the finance sector, and increasing demands from the end users of our products, our farming systems need to evolve to not only survive, but to prosper and grow sustainably while continuing to be the backbone of the economy.”
These challenges include the recent Canterbury flooding, which affected many farms throughout the region.
Acknowledging the impact on local farmers, SIDE’s organising committee have donated $1,000 from the event to Rural Support Trust, which provide support through adversity, including providing support for farmers affected by the recent flooding.
DairyNZ chairman Jim van der Poel also acknowledged the issues flooding had created for farmers, before discussing current positive aspects of the sector.
“Global demand for dairy is on the rise, prices are strong, and we are on the brink of landing a free trade agreement with the UK. Our public perception of dairy has also improved due to Covid, as the rest of New Zealand remembered what a huge economic contribution our dairy farmers make,” says Mr van der Poel.
“It is a great time to be a Kiwi dairy farmer, even if it may not always feel like it with all the regulation that has been coming our way.
“We are making great progress in reducing our footprint. We should be proud of this and the work we are doing.”