Although there have been "robust and constructive" questions at Fonterra's recent Annual Results meetings, Mark Robinson says it proves farmers are still "passionate" about the co-op.
Fonterra's Head of Farm Source for Otago/Southland spoke to The Country Early Edition's Rowena Duncum about the meetings which were held after the co-op posted its first-ever net loss of $196 million last week.
"While we're all pretty disappointed about the results from last season, it's a pretty positive sign that a number of our farmers are coming out to meetings, meeting with the management teams and our directors, asking really good robust and constructive questions."
"[They are] obviously still really clearly passionate and committed to the co-op."
Robinson says the information about the loss was, "about as well received as you'd expect."
"When you post your first loss in 17 years, you can expect that the owners will be pretty frustrated and want to know what's wrong."
"These results are not just numbers, they are the bread and butter and the livelihoods of our farmers and their families."
"The questions were certainly frank but really fair," says Robinson who was impressed to see managers and directors "lean in to the fact that we didn't get it right."
Robinson says farmers asked questions about Fonterra's overseas investments, (particularly Beingmate), how the co-op plans to improve performance and "if the team are making the right decisions about the right investment and getting the best possible return on that capital."