Ngahinapouri farmer Jim van der Poel is the new chairman of DairyNZ.

The dairy farmer also has farming interests in the Waikato, Southland, Canterbury and the United States.

He is a former director for Fonterra and New Zealand Co-operative Dairies Ltd.

Mr van der Poel replaces former chairman Michael Spaans, who died last week.

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He says Mr Spaans was a skilled, dedicated and passionate chair for DairyNZ and plans to continue the vision he established for DairyNZ and dairy farmers.

"While I step into this position under sad circumstances, as a board we will continue Michael's good work," he says.

"His influence will continue as we develop plans for the future of our industry."

Acting chair Barry Harris says Mr van der Poel is a strong advocate for dairy farmers and the sector's future.

"Jim is experienced as a dairy farmer and in governance for our sector," he says.

"He is particularly keen to ensure dairy farmers continue to be competitive and responsible as we address the current challenges around sustainability, securing a skilled workforce and continuing to produce quality products for the world."