Fonterra chair Peter McBride hopes the Government reaches a decision on its new capital structure before the end of the year.
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Fonterra chair Peter McBride.
Fonterra chair Peter McBride.

As 100 Fonterra farmers gathered for its annual meeting in Rotorua last week, the primary production select committee released its report on the legislative changes to the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act (DIRA).

McBride says it’s another key milestone in the legislative process.

“We remain hopeful that the Government will reach a decision before the end of the year, after which we will move to the Flexible Shareholding structure as fast as possible.”

In the past few years, the co-op has moved its strategy away from a global-volume play to a focus on deriving value from sustainable New Zealand milk.

McBride says that strategy is starting to deliver – as demonstrated by this year’s milk price and earnings performance.

“Our customers are at the heart of our strategy.

“We will achieve our performance targets by continuing to deliver products to market in a way that meets their changing expectations.”

McBride told the meeting that 73% of global consumers find sustainability pledges important when buying dairy products.

He says it’s great news for a co-op that’s strategy is focused on New Zealand milk and being a leader in sustainability.

“New Zealand dairy farmers already have the world’s lowest carbon footprint.

“If we can maintain that advantage, we have an excellent opportunity to build mutually beneficial relationships with our premium customers.

“Maintaining a sustainable supply of that New Zealand milk, in an environment where we expect the country’s total milk volumes to decline, has been a key priority for board and management over the past few years.”

Globally, consumers can’t get enough of the quality and taste of American dairy products. Foreign exports of American dairy are twice the volume of the nation’s domestic dairy consumption. Last year, about 18% of U.S. dairy production was exported, and economists forecast that percentage to grow more than 25% in 2023.

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