Twelve dairy farmers and dairy industry professionals have embarked on an eight-day journey across New Zealand to explore its dairy sector and develop their leadership skills in the process.

Beginning in Christchurch, the group will tour farms and industry on New Zealand’s South Island with a focus on innovative farming methods, sustainability and social enterprise.

New Zealand dairy farmers are among the world’s most sustainable dairy farmers with one of the lowest carbon footprints for milk. 27-year-old dairy farmer Jane Snell from Merrigum in Victoria says she is looking forward to learning more about their approach to sustainable farming.

“I am share farming with my husband and his parents as part of their succession plan. We milk 450 cows on flood irrigated land. I am really intrigued by New Zealand’s focus on environmentally sustainable dairy farming, especially their efforts to minimise nitrogen usage.”

The Gardiner Foundation has been funding the tour since 2008. Now in its 16th year, the New Zealand Study Tour will be run in partnership to with Australian Dairy Conference.

Leading the tour is industry veteran Ross Bawden. Ross has spent most of his career in agriculture, including as Regional Operations Manager with Dairy Australia. Joining Ross will be the newly appointed Tour Mentor, Andrew Tyler.

This is the first year the tour will have a mentor to elevate the experience for participants. Andrew, in partnership with his wife, operate a dairy farm in Tongala, Victoria. Andrew has also served as a Director and Chair at Murray Dairy and director at Australian Dairy Conference.

The participants will visit 14 different places on the tour which includes research, commercial and regenerative farms, dairy factories and industry bodies. They will also meet a variety of industry leaders, executives, scientists and sharefarmers.

Gardiner Foundation CEO, Allan Cameron said it’s important to learn more about dairy farming in New Zealand to share knowledge for the benefit of our local industries and communities.

“The New Zealand Study Tour is a fantastic opportunity for young dairy professionals, our future industry and community leaders, to immerse themselves in all that the New Zealand dairy industry has to offer,” Allan said.

“We are committed to providing experiential leadership opportunities and initiatives like the New Zealand Study Tour, which will increase the depth in industry and community leadership capacity.”

The 2024 New Zealand Study Tour participants are:

  • Kieran Bourke (Cressy, Tasmania)
  • Mea O’Byrne (Gooloogong, NSW)
  • Nick Mignanelli (Hindmarsh Tiers, SA)
  • Alicia Richters (South Coast NSW)
  • Harrison Darley (Dorrigo, NSW)
  • Jake Hill (Cudgewa, Victoria)
  • Leesa Chen (Melboune, Victoria)
  • Mitchell Jones (Toora, Victoria)
  • Miranda Knight (Jindivick, Victoria)
  • Jane Snell (Merrigum, Victoria)
  • Kristen Davis (Gippsland, Victoria)
  • Martijn Visscher (Tongala, Victoria)

To learn more about the program visit New Zealand Study Tour