2010-11-08

‘Get a real job like farming,’ Federated Farmers advises protestors

8 November 2010

‘Get a real job like farming,’ Federated Farmers advises protestors

Federated Farmers has brushed off the small number of protestors opposing the International Dairy Federation (IDF) World Dairy Summit 2010, in Auckland today.

“Every protestor I saw was outnumbered heavily by delegates,” says Lachlan McKenzie, Federated Farmers Dairy chairperson.

“Since the IDF World Dairy Summit is about food production these protestors are now anti-food. I honestly think very few know why they’re there, aside from opposing anything carrying the ‘I’, or ‘international’ word in it.

“If these protestors oppose a conference that will help lift global dairy production, then what next? Opposing the Rugby World Cup due to its link with long-haul air travel carbon emissions?

“You really feel like saying to this rent-a-mob, ‘get a real job,’ like farming.

“Federated Farmers and delegates are at the IDF World Dairy Summit to learn about smarter and more sustainable dairy farming.

“Given the global population will expand by a third over the next four decades, if we don’t want wars triggered by hunger, then we need to produce a lot more food, including milk.

“The New Zealand farming system is about optimal resource use and by focusing on that, the environmental footprint goes down. Compared to where we were when I was a lad, we’re streets ahead environmentally.

“New Zealand also has a great story to tell our overseas colleagues. Unsubsidised, dairy production growth per cow has averaged some 26 percent since 1990. We’re chasing the right stocking rate for our farms instead of chasing subsidies.

“While New Zealand is a small food producer in global terms, we happen to be a major food exporter. We’re actually number two for dairy. But to meet future population growth we all need to become better.

“It’s why the World Dairy Summit gives us an opportunity to learn about efficient farming practices - making more food from fewer inputs, generating fewer emissions.

“As for sustainability, Kiwis know that the United Nation’s called it right last week by naming New Zealand the third best country to live in. Not only have that, but Columbia and Yale Universities ranked New Zealand second in the world for overall water quality.

“So instead of protesting outside, perhaps they ought to take up farming and do something positive instead,” Mr McKenzie concluded.

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