lessons learned from Psa will be shared with farmers facing the lowest milk price in years when leaders from the Bay kiwifruit industry take the platform at the DairyNZ Farmers' Forum this month.
Kiwifruit industry representative Ian Greaves and Zespri chief operating officer Simon Limmer will talk about how Psa affected growers, the production crisis, and its pathway forward to a bright future.
Kiwifruit growers were "battered" when Psa devastated kiwifruit orchards across the Bay of Plenty in 2010, Mr Greaves said, and "although we are different industries, we are still people".
"One looks after animals, one looks after plants - but we are people, we have passion, we have drive, we earn our income and live our lifestyles this way."
In the wake of Psa, many Gold kiwifruit orchards were wiped out and it also affected some green crops, with many growers only getting their first or second crop since it occurred.
Like all industries facing adversity, the focus quickly shifted from practical aspects (managing the orchards and plants) to looking out for the people involved, he said.
Psa hit the pockets of 2000 kiwifruit growers - taking incomes and knocking an estimated 75per cent off land values - but now the sector was bouncing back.
"The industry is buoyant, land prices are higher than before and we have a new Gold cultivar which is tolerant of Psa, with management. The world markets have invigorated too - people are queuing up for New Zealand kiwifruit," Mr Greaves said. "We're in a real sweet spot right now. But many of the people have been quite battered, it's still quite close to the surface."
His advice to dairy farmers was simple.
"Look after yourself and after each other - go and see how the neighbours are doing. We all want to keep our skilled people in the industry rather than having to find new people."
Many dairy farmers "are going through hard times right now", Zespri's Simon Limmer said and he welcomed the opportunity to share the experiences of the kiwifruit industry through the discovery of Psa.
"Our response was marked by unity, cohesion and solidarity of purpose, as the industry came together to work with government to find a research and development solution to what seemed to be a crisis. It is important to note that the kiwifruit industry was facing a production crisis, as Psa constrained supply."
The industry established Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH) to manage the research and development, on-orchard and personal pastoral response, with the support of the Government which committed $25 million to support the industry, he said.
"Now Psa is a normal part of orchard management; it's added to the cost of managing an orchard, but with the upside that the industry has greatly improved growing techniques.
Our growers now monitor orchards much more closely and respond more quickly to issues and through KVH, we have a much stronger industry focus on biosecurity and risk management."
Other keynote speakers at the Farmers' Forum include Deputy Prime Minister Bill English, Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings and Rabobank head of food and agribusiness research and advisory, Tim Hunt.
A DairyNZ spokesperson said the biennial event would give dairy farmers insight into how to adapt their businesses in challenging times and how the global environment would shape the future of New Zealand milk production.