New research into the co-operative structure of Fonterra has found that total farmer ownership provides the best return for the dairy industry.
Nuffield scholar Desiree Reid, who is also a South Canterbury dairy farmer, has spent the past 15 months researching the co-operative structure and future growth of New Zealand's largest company.
She has found that diluting farmer ownership is not in the interests of the dairy industry or the country.
Ms Reid says her report also reinforces that a farmer-owned co-operative is the best model to capture value for farmers because it stops the milk price paid to them from reducing over time.
She says however that farmers need to take their role as owners of the business seriously and actively participate and continue to invest in their co-operative.