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Federated Farmers President Katie Milne talks the impact of COVID-19 on the NZ agriculture sector

coronavirus 30/03/2020

Sean Plunket was joined by Katie Milne, President of Federated Farmers to discuss the agriculture sector and whether there are enough seasonal fruit workers in the country.

Sean begins by saying it was only a few months ago that school resources were stating ‘go vegan’, and now the importance of the primary produce sector in this country is more valued.

Milne explains “as farmers we just want to make it so people didn't get a one eyed view of how farming worked.”

People can stop and realize that nothing in the world is perfect, Milne says, "but some are essential.”

Sean asks whether farmers are still making food for export, as they are considered an essential industry.

“Someone still has to go and milk the cows,” Milne states, “we might as well continue on.”

She explains it’s better if the systems are being utilized, as we are an agricultural country. 

We need to see how well we can recover as a country, Milne says;

We’ve got to try and do our best

Milne thinks the tourism in New Zealand and other things we do as a country may take longer to get back to normal.

Sean asks whether there are enough seasonal work forces to pick fruit, to which Milne replies it’s “inevitable” that we will lose some crop on the vine.

“How is morale?” Sean wonders, in terms of the mental health of farmers.

“We are worried about our loved ones,” Milne admits.

Listen to the full interview above.