The future of dairy farming is on the agenda at a major three-day gathering beginning in Wellington today.

Nearly 100 dairy farming leaders from across New Zealand will discuss sustainable farming and progress goals for the future at the annual DairyNZ Dairy Environment Leaders Forum.

Dairy Environment Leaders programme chair Tracy Brown said the forum was geared at developing and empowering dairy farming leaders to shape a sustainable future for the sector and its communities.

"Sustainable dairying is a real focus for the dairy sector, as farmers continue to build on work they've already done to look after the environment," Brown said. "Farmers are doing a lot of good work on their farms and in their communities to build great environments and establish sustainable businesses for the long-term – and the forum is a key part of continuing that journey."

The farmer-led Dairy Environment Leaders Forum is in its sixth year in its current format and this year hosts around 50 new dairy farmers, expanding the programme's dairy farmer base to 300 nationwide.

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Attendees at this year's forum will discuss the international market opportunity and what is the right thing to do for food; what the dairy sector is doing to meet environmental commitments; how science can help and the implementation of the new dairy strategy.

The event's keynote speaker is internationally renowned businessman and technology entrepreneur Ian Taylor, who will talk about how to inspire everyone to work together to get the best results for New Zealand.

"The ultimate goal is that farmers come away from the forum inspired and motivated to help accelerate change and ensure dairy continues its journey to securing a sustainable future," Brown said. "We are trying to grow understanding, clarity and connection so collectively we can face the challenges ahead."

For more details about the forum, visit www.dairynz.co.nz/delf.