INDEPENDENT NEWS

Southern Dairy Hub Case to Be Presented

Published: Tue 19 May 2015 09:35 AM
Southern Dairy Hub Case to Be Presented
Trustees of the Southern Dairy Development Trust are very pleased with the support received for the Southern Dairy Hub, with 516 farmers and businesses pledging $1.306 million in support.
“It’s an absolutely fantastic result and a huge endorsement for the Hub project,” Chair Matthew Richards says. “We are grateful and thankful for the support from our community and are confident we will get a good hearing in front of our industry partners, DairyNZ and AgResearch.”
Mr Richards says the official numbers includes postal pledges that arrived following the April 30 pledge deadline and takes the result to 55% of farmers between Dunedin and Bluff as having pledged their financial support.
“Our next step is to present our figures to DairyNZ and AgResearch. The fact we gained the support of a majority of southern dairy farmers is a key factor in determining the Hub’s future as our partners wanted to see farmers supporting this. While we didn’t hit the financial target of $2 million, I’m still confident that we will get the decision to go ahead.”
Mr Richards says the Hub aims to be an innovation centre where ideas and concepts are tested. It will provide southern dairy farmers with comparative research, demonstration of the research and education and training facilities. It will also have commercial and research office buildings.
The plan is for the Hub to be located somewhere in central Southland and be home to about 850 cows, split into four herds.
“We’ve been out there looking for the right farm over the last couple of months. The brief is to find a farm that is centrally located, with a mix of soil types and ideally some contour – it will be a sheep conversion to allow us to start with a clean slate.”
The Hub is being funded through industry partners DairyNZ and AgResearch ($10 million), proceeds from the closure of the Southland Demonstration Farm (approx. $2.5 million), pledges from southern farmers and businesses, and the balance being funded by debt. Additional income streams include research, commercial lease space, room hireage, livestock sales and milk supply.
Mr Richards says the Trust will outline the next steps in the proposal’s development once it has received the formal confirmation required to proceed.
Further information on the Hub can be viewed at www.southerndairyhub.co.nz.
ends

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