Demonstration farm opens

GERALD PIDDOCK
Last updated 05:00 15/08/2014
 Nathan Guy
CHRIS HILLOCK/Fairfax NZ

ATTRACTING EXPERTISE: Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy opens a farm – a joint venture between St Peter’s School and Lincoln University.

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A new demonstration dairy farm near Cambridge has been hailed as "world-leading" by Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.

The 183 hectare farm, which is a joint venture between St Peter's School and Lincoln University was officially opened by the minister yesterday in front of a packed crowd.

"It's going to allow students in this school to understand the importance of the primary sector. It's also going to be open for other schools to come and get involved and understand the opportunities in the primary sector," Guy said.

St Peter's Board chairman David Heald said the venture meant the farm would become of increasing importance and relevance to the future at St Peter's.

"These are exciting times ahead."

The aim of the farm is to introduce systems and practices that would see it placed in the top 3 per cent of farms in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty for profitability and environmental performance.

It would allow the students to see more than just a working dairy farm as it will attract expertise from Lincoln and the wider dairy industry, Heald said.

Waikato Regional Council chairwoman Paula Southgate applauded the two partners for coming together for the project.

It was a great initiative and timely for the region given the expected growth of new jobs the primary sector would face in the future, she said.

Fonterra chairman John Wilson said the farm was a fantastic venture.

The trials to be set up on the farm would be critical for the future environmental sustainability of the dairy industry, he said.

"Education and research is absolutely critical to maintaining our low cost milk and global relevance.

"Investments in a farm system such as this is going to be great for the prosperity of the Waikato region and as those ideas are taken out across the country, it's great for New Zealand as a whole."

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