Fonterra has defended its plans to establish up to 20 dairy farms in China.
So far it has two large scale farms operating in Hebei province in northern China with another under development and two more planned.
At a special meeting last week, Southland dairy farmer Peter Mann questioned why Fonterra was continuing to expand its dairying farming in China and whether it was making money from that.
Chairman Sir Henry van der Heyden told the meeting that it's to protect New Zealand's growing export trade to China.
One in every five litres of the milk produced in New Zealand now ends up in China, mainly as milk powder. That's more than 1 billion litres of milk per year.
Chief executive Theo Spiering says that volume will keep growing and it makes sense for Fonterra to back that up with its own supply in China.
''There will be four billion litres going from New Zealand to China and one billion (litres) from China,'' he said.