All six participants of the 2015 New Zealand Study Tour attended the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria (UDV) Conference today to share their experiences from the annual initiative funded by the Gardiner Dairy Foundation.

The next generation of Victorian dairy industry leaders reported the tour to the South Island of New Zealand provided valuable insights into faring practices, which they can learn from and adapt to improve farming locally.

Chair of Gardiner Dairy Foundtion, Mike Taylor AO said the New Zealand Study Tour provides young members of the dairy industry with an opportunity to examine best practise, build leadership capabilities and expand their networks.

“The Gardiner dairy Foundation is proud to partner with UDV every year to undertake the annual New Zealand Study Tour, which focuses on providing young dairy leaders professional development that aims to harness their passion and encourage them to bring key learnings back home.”

Today, the six participants involved in this year’s tour highlighted how the experience was valuable to them with William Ryan of Dumbalk noting that New Zealand farmers have strong business acumen and thorough understanding of economics.

The environmental impact of farming, combined with water quality and nitrate leaching, were of particular interest to Kerrilyn Bassett of Kyabram. Aaron Thomas of Binginwarri commented on pasture based systems and the importance of breeding programs, while Sarah Saxton of Frankston South remarked on the benefits and pitfalls of operating in a cooperative dominant industry.

Finally, Jason Bermingham of Nambrok discussed the multiple support networks available to farmers in New Zealand, and Hayden Hanratty of Foster commented on the obvious confidence and passion that dairy farmers in New Zealand have for their industry.

UDV President, Adam Jenkins expressed how important programs like this are in supporting Victoria’s emerging dairy leaders.

“We are committed to working with partners like the Gardiner Foundation on initiatives like the New Zealand Study Tour to encourage keen young dairy farmers to develop knowledge and build leadership qualities. UDV aims to provide the next generation of dairy leaders with an opportunity to learn from our neighbours and maintain world’s best practise here in Victoria.”