Since graduating from Lincoln University in 2004, Central Otago viticulturist Nick Paulin has been on a steep upward trajectory.
"As part of my research, I am sending out a survey which allows dairy farmers to express their views on the future of the dairy industry and on what they think needs to be improved (if anything) and how," she says.
"The results will be made publicly available in the hope of lifting the issues that are important to them. The online questionnaire takes about 10-15 minutes to complete and it's all anonymous."
The survey is built on the thoughts and concerns of 30 dairy farmers who were interviewed across the country earlier this year.
The interviewed dairy farmers’ management practices ranged from high to low input, conventional to biological to organic in both modern and traditional dairy farming regions. “I was thus aiming to look at the whole spectrum of adaptations to different future outlooks.”
The research titled “Understanding dairy farming decision-making” aims to understand how dairy farmers change their farming system in response to different trends and stresses, such as regulation, value-add and low cash-flow.
Ultimately, the aspiration is to work towards connecting farmers who have made changes that increase profitability with other interested farmers, and create a platform where information on the benefits and challenges of these transitions to more sustainable systems is easily accessible. The more dairy farmers that take the survey, the more information will be available to perhaps influence industry and policy-makers.