Newly-elected DairyNZ director Chris Lewis says he is humbled and honoured by the confidence farmers have placed in him.
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Chris Lewis says he’s looking forward to serving in his new role

Lewis says he is looking forward to serving in the new role.

“I thank everyone who voted for me. I am both humbled and honoured with the support and confidence that farmers have placed in me,” he told Rural News.

“I’m passionate about serving in this new role, and will bring my own unique way of doing things.”

Lewis thanked the other two candidates – sitting directors Tracy Brown, who was reelected and Elaine Cook – for participating in the election process.

“Our farmers are better off for it.”

DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel says he is looking forward to having Brown and Lewis on the board.

“Tracy and Chris will play a key part in setting the future direction of DairyNZ and the sector.

“They both bring key knowledge and expertise which will support our farmers as we continue to navigate the changing farming environment.”

They join the three other farmer-elected directors and three board-appointed directors on DairyNZ’s board.

“Elaine’s expertise has been invaluable over the past seven years.

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DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel

“Elaine has contributed greatly in the face of a range of farmer challenges, including changing regulations, particularly winter grazing regulations in Southland, and supporting the transition towards the new DairyNZ strategy for farmers. We will miss her.”

The director election took place at DairyNZ’s annual general meeting in Invercargill last week.

Van der Poel says this year’s AGM acknowledged the significant year it has been for farmers, including inflation driving up costs on-farm, staff shortages, regulatory changes and Covid-19, while also highlighting some of the sector’s achievements.

“As farmers we should all be proud of our contribution, providing jobs and income for New Zealand. With strong milk prices, dairy’s economic contribution was $50 billion over the past season,” he says

“Despite the challenges we face, dairy continues to be a driving force behind New Zealand’s economy.

“DairyNZ will also continue to advocate strongly on behalf of farmers – and we have done so on winter grazing, dairy cattle welfare consultation, and residency and border issues this year.”

‘Serious Concerns’ with Govt Proposals

The DairyNZ AGM also discussed the contentious issue of emissions pricing proposed by the Government.

“But we do not support the Government’s response that they announced last week.

“The partnership presented a credible option that would have supported emissions reductions, while enabling farmers to have profitable businesses and thriving rural communities.

“I want to be clear that what the Government came back with is not what the sector proposed, and we have some serious concerns with that. There is still a lot that needs to be improved to make what the Government has announced workable for farmers.”

The quality rating of domestic dairy products has remained above 99 percent for six consecutive years, experts said at a webinar.

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