Minister of Agriculture Hon Damien O'Connor and Minister for Climate Change Hon James Shaw are in good company at this year's DairyNZ Farmers' Forum in Hamilton this May.

The forum, on May 8-9 at Mystery Creek Events Centre, is hosting speakers from across the dairy spectrum – bringing together leading political and economic views, and discussing sustainable farming, future food and farm practices.

DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says this year's Farmers' Forum will set the sector up for future and discuss how the new strategy, Dairy Tomorrow, will be achieved.

"The forum will explore where dairy is headed. Understanding our sector's future from a range of viewpoints is so important, as the political, economic and environmental outlooks, as well as our markets, drive what we do daily on farms New Zealand-wide," says Tim.

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"The dairy sector is dynamic and challenging, and as we plan for the future through the strategy it's a great time to discuss and debate all the issues and opportunities we face."

The two-day DairyNZ Farmers' Forum is expected to attract over 700 farmers and brings together influential leaders and commentators.

Minister of Agriculture Damien O'Connor will discuss the future of dairy farming from the government's perspective and priorities for food production, while Minister for Climate Change James Shaw will discuss the sector's opportunities for climate change and greenhouse gases.

Farmers can also submit a question to both ministers for a Q&A session on day one (questions can be submitted when registering to attend the forum).

Additional speakers include future of food specialist Julian Cribb, economist Cameron Bagrie, future thinking, strategy and innovation leader Roger Dennis, mental health campaigner Mike King and a wide range of dairy sector leaders.

A panel discussion of dairy company leaders will look at what the Dairy Tomorrow strategy will mean for farmers.

Day one of the Forum looks at what is driving change in the global markets, the changing political environment, the implications for New Zealand dairying and how the sector can adapt.

On day two, the focus shifts to the farm, looking at new technologies and techniques to help farmers respond to the sector's challenges and opportunities, along with tips, tools and advice for boosting farm businesses. Farmers can choose from eight workshops.

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"The forum is also a good opportunity to find out more about new research and projects, and discuss them directly with the researchers and project leaders," says Tim.
The DairyNZ Farmers' Forum is free to levy paying dairy farmers and their staff.

Registrations are open and essential prior to the event. To view the full programme or register, visit www.dairynz.co.nz/farmersforum