New Zealand’s traditional farmers are walking away from dairying in their droves, put off by a costly ‘avalanche of regulations’ and poor work-life balance.
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Exit: Andrew McLeod got out of dairying and now runs a few beef cattle on a parcel of land he did not sell. Photos: Bay of Plenty Times

New Zealand’s traditional farmers are walking away from dairying in their droves, put off by a costly ‘avalanche of regulations’ and poor work-life balance. Meanwhile, big syndicates and kiwi fruit growers are buying up the land, and there’s no way into the industry for young farmers.

Staring down a $700,000 (€415,000) barrel of compliance, regulation and other costs was the last straw for New Zealand dairy farmer Andrew McLeod.

In May 2020, he sold up and walked away from dairying and a farm in Welcome Bay that had been in his family for more than 50 years.

Andrew is not alone. Farm leaders in New Zealand say the “family farm is struggling to survive” amid an “avalanche of regulations” and syndicates motivated by money.

The potential sale by Fonterra of its Australian operations could have implications for the course of Australia’s entire dairy sector over the next five to 10 years, according to ANZ’s latest Agri Commodity Report.

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