Beyond borders: NZ's dairy industry shines at World Dairy Summit

Beyond borders: NZ's dairy industry shines at World Dairy Summit

Chicago played host to the World Dairy Summit in October, where industry experts from around the world gathered to discuss and compare their respective challenges, successes and everything in between.

Samantha Tennent is the General Manager of WelFarm and attended the event in the Windy City. She told REX host Dominic George that being there and talking to people from around the globe offered her a broad perspective on the industry.

"It's a good reminder that we're not alone. There's a lot going on out there," she said.

Among the topics discussed, one stood out for its significance to the dairy industry in New Zealand - the nation's pioneering approach to pricing agricultural emissions. This was particularly relevant when Tennent delved into the global perception of New Zealand's vanguard approach to pricing agricultural emissions. 

"We are seen or looking to go down the road of being the first country to price agricultural emissions."

However, she noted that this innovative strategy was not necessarily the primary topic of conversation among international dairy leaders. This is not to say that New Zealand's stance went unnoticed. 

Tennent had the opportunity to interview Krista Hardin, the president and CEO of the US Dairy Export Council, who emphasised the importance of science-based decisions that are deciding what needs to happen for lots of things, but incentivising and working with sectors. So collaboration across the supply chain, that's the important piece. 

"It's frustrating for us to hear that our Government's saying we're going to smack you at this, where, even if this is out, they're going. Oh, we need to all be working together in collaboration," Tennent noted.

She also highlighted the nation's unique position when it comes to New Zealand's unique role in the global dairy landscape.

"Most of the world's milk is produced locally. 

"9 to 10% of the milk produced around the world is actually exported, and so it's such a flip from us where we're exporting 95% of our product." 

The future, however, appears promising. Tennent relayed a key prediction from the summit that they expect the next decade to see some of the biggest growth the dairy industry has ever seen.

With this potential growth, there is room for further innovation and collaboration within the industry.

Looking forward to future World Dairy Summits, Tennent is excited for Kiwis to show off what New Zealand has to offer when it plays host to the world in a few years.

"Next year it's in France and the year after that it's in Chile, but in 2026 New Zealand's hosting it," she said, referring to the World Dairy Summit. 

This presents an incredible opportunity for New Zealand's dairy industry to showcase its innovations and continue its role as a global leader.

Listen to the full chat between Samantha Tennent and Dominic George above.

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