Philippine Ambassador visits biggest dairy farm in Kerikeri, New Zealand
As part of the Philippine Embassy’s priority on the development of the Philippine dairy sector in its economic diplomacy thrusts, Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez visited a dairy farm in Kerikeri, the Bay of Islands on 09 January 2014.
Ambassador Benavidez, accompanied by Minister and Consul Arlene Gonzales-Macaisa, visited and was given a tour of the sprawling Pinny Farms based in Kerikeri, Bay of Islands, New Zealand. Owned and operated by Merv and Cara Pinny, Pinny Farms has a network of nine dairy farm properties throughout Northland with a wide range of farms sizing from 300 cows to 1200 cows. It is Northland's largest milk supplier producing up to 20 million litres a year. Pinny Farms has grazing blocks run by a skilled Beef Manager to support the dairy farms. Also, alongside the large dairy operation, it has been running development projects to grow their milk supply. This growth has taken place at the “Kaikohe hub” where all the farms are adjoined. The Pinny Farms are considered the biggest independent Farm Holdings throughout New Zealand.
According to Merv and Carra Pinny, they are focused on people growth, compliance, animal health, milk production and sustainable farming. They stated that Pinny Farms have highly skilled staff, many of whom are Filipinos, and they are the key to a brighter future for the Pinny Farms, consequently, Pinny Farms offer a wide range of staffing positions and opportunities throughout the business, with an emphasis on training and support.
Pinny Farms is manned by Filipino dairy workers who gave their personal accounts on how they milk hundreds of cows using current rotary platform technology, their experiences in and exposure to modern dairy farm facilities, their adjustments to daily farm work and interaction with their Kiwi employers. They also showed their housing accommodations which they find suitable and comfortable for them and their families. “It is heartening to know that the Filipino dairy workers in Kerikeri represent the Philippines and the Filipino people well and we deeply appreciate the distinct recognition being given by Merv and Carry Pinny to the important contributions of the Filipino team at Pinny Farms as well as the opportunities to upgrade their knowledge and skills in the dairy sector,” Ambassador Benavidez stated. She also shared the continuing appreciation of the leaders and people of New Zealand for the extensive work and excellent involvement of Filipinos in the dairy farms throughout the country, the growing trade relations with the Philippines as the third largest destination for New Zealand dairy exports and the bright prospects for broadening partnerships in the dairy cooperative project between the two countries.