Fieldays: Opportunity or death knell

15 June 2012

Jacqueline seminar

Looking to the future: University of Waikato Agribusiness Professor Jacqueline Rowarth speaks at the National Agricultural Fieldays Seminar Series.

The frustrating part of farming - the costs of complying with regulations - was highlighted in a seminar at the National Agricultural Fieldays today.
University of Waikato Professor of Agribusiness Jacqueline Rowarth's seminar, called Opportunity or death knell, dealt with the modern regulatory environment, pointing out that with the increasing regulation of standards farmers are finding themselves out of pocket.

Rising costs

Professor Rowarth talked about how costs of production are rising in agriculture, but not as fast as the price of food.

"In the last 20 years, food prices have gone up 45%, but the costs to the farmer have risen by 60%.

"Our problem in New Zealand is that we have a limit on the amount of sun we get. We need to supplement our land if we want to keep things like the price of milk at something we can afford."

The future

However, the use of chemicals on land was often misunderstood and had in the past led to an increase in regulation, said Professor Rowarth. "Our future is in explaining that we are a necessary luxury to overseas markets - we've done it with wine and Kiwifruit Gold."

Professor Rowarth argued that unless a new, high-value market for food is created, New Zealand’s market will move overseas. The University of Waikato is a strategic partner of Fieldays for the sixth year running.

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