Most migrant applicants for a special South Island Contribution Work Visa are in farming, as shown by figures from Immigration NZ.
I’ve seen a marked change in dairy farmers over the past year too.
People outside the sector may think I’m referring to the extensive work farmers are doing to make their farms more environmentally sustainable. But as you all know, this isn’t new; farmers have been doing this for a long time.
The change is that farmers are stepping up and telling their story. This has been a challenge for many who are naturally humble and have struggled to accept that they need to engage more with their communities and take them on their journey.
Dairy farmers, I believe your efforts are paying off: how the public feels about dairy is changing. I hope you are all starting to see that. The public are starting to see your hard work and investment in looking after the environment. Many Kiwis now realise that dairy farmers care about the land, the waterways and their cows.
We need to continue opening people’s eyes to what the sector is doing and what’s really happening onfarm.
Helping change the public’s perception of dairy farming is among the things that motivated me to put my name forward to become a director of DairyNZ.
I want New Zealanders to be proud of dairy, as I am, as you are and as our ancestors were.
Globally, New Zealand dairy is highly regarded. Wouldn’t it be nice if NZers felt the same way? I believe if we keep doing what we’re doing this will be achieved.
My father used to say that when you get up in the morning, if you haven’t got a couple of problems to solve to give you passion or drive in your day, then you need to find some promptly. I’ve always embraced this motto and believe the last few years show farmers do too.
We’ve faced our fair share of challenges but we’ve stood up and taken responsibility to address them.
I’ve never known anyone on a farm, or in the industry, who doesn’t wake up not wanting to do the best they can. For many of us, dairy isn’t just a job, it’s our home, it’s what we live and breathe, and we’re all trying to make a difference to leave it better than when we found it.
I’m excited to be a part of this new stage in our progress, and to help NZ dairy go from strength to strength.
• Colin Glass was recently elected a director of DairyNZ.