Being classed an essential business is a privilege – do not abuse that privilege, says Chris Lewis, Federated Farmers national dairy spokesman.
“That uncertainty is creating a whole lot of stress and anxiety. Because of that people aren’t sure what to do first. A lot of people are quite challenged in that space,” Brown told Dairy News.
DairyNZ needs to help provide clarity of direction and “we really need to look after our people,” she said.
“I am humbled and honoured to have received such a strong mandate to represent dairy NZ farmers and families.”
She has just completed a governance and development programme and she thrives on a challenge.
“I’m excited about what lies ahead. I’m looking forward to it.
Brown believes the way forward for DairyNZ and the industry is looking after its people and coming up with good solutions.
“There is a lot of really tough stuff but there will be opportunities. The way forward is being a little bit innovative and thinking about things differently than the way we have done things in the past.
“Still respecting and observing the way things have been done in the past but being brave about how we can face things in the future and perhaps look at things a different way.”
Brown says she wants to hear from farmers about where they see the challenges and how they need to be supported to go forward.
One of her key strengths is being a good listener.
“I don’t have all the solutions, those will come from within our farmer base. My role is enabling people and ensuring resources are allocated in a way that will help people move forward.”
Initially her priority will be to meet the farmers and staff. An upcoming round of levy meetings will give her broad opportunity to connect with farmers.
She has already worked with DairyNZ, from an operational perspective but also in strategy.
“But I have to switch my lens a bit more now I am on the board to governance and get a much deeper understanding of the organisation. So that will be the first six months or so.”
Longer term she has a couple of key goals. The first is helping farmers through the change process.
“The pace of change is overwhelming at the moment for people and it seems to be speeding up. Farmers need support with relevant science, timely information and good people to help them with their decisionmaking.
“The second one is providing strong leadership and direction. We need to prioritise and focus on what we can influence. We need to improve connection and engagement of urban and rural and engagement of our farmers.”
We need to help develop regional solutions for regional issues, she says. While much is happening there is also considerable variation between regions.
“We need to create outcomes from wise and relevant levy investment.”
She wants to gain a full understanding of how the levy is being invested and “what’s the science and the research so we can improve our farm systems, increase our profitability, lower our footprint and decrease our risk.
“There are definitely a lot of moving parts.”