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Dairy cows will be led into Northland’s Rangihamama milking sheds for the first time officially this weekend, marking the first tangible example of the Government’s aim to increase regional economic development in Northland.
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has been working with the Omapere Rangihamama Trust (ORT) to accelerate the Trust’s transformation of 278 hectares of Māori-owned land, from grazing to high-productivity dairy farming since 2012.
“Omapere Rangihamama Trust is a model for growing rural development by pulling together a vast number of stakeholders into a larger and more commercially effective operation,” says MPI’s Deputy Director-General Ben Dalton.
“It’s hoped this model will act as an exemplar for increased productivity on surrounding land blocks. An increasing number of Māori landowners are striving to achieve economic and sustainable farming operations like this, as kaitiaki of their land."
“MPI is dedicated to partnering with Māori landowners across the country to grow and protect their primary sector assets and Rangihamama is a shining example of pulling this,” says Mr Dalton.
The dairy conversion has the potential to see new economic benefits, provide employment opportunities and increase on-farm technical capabilities.
The Trust envisions that the investment in new infrastructure and the growth of the dairy herd will see production of milk solids grow from a budgeted 180,000 kgMS in year one to a total of around 230,000 kgMS from year three of the development.
“The dairy conversion would not be possible without the leadership of ORT, who have worked for years with its more than 3000 shareholders to ensure the benefits of this land are realised. Rangihamama is a significant contribution towards New Zealand’s primary sector and economy,” says Mr Dalton.
The Rangihamama Dairy Conversion will be opened at an official ceremony by Omapere Taraire E & Rangihamama X3A Ahu Whenua Trust on Saturday 22 March 2014.