21 Oct 2011

Sharemilking agreement overhauled

6:27 am on 21 October 2011

Federated Farmers has a new sharemilking agreement, which among other things, will help to keep children safer on farms.

The agreement outlines personal rights and duties between the land-owners and sharemilkers, in a contract system that operates on 40% of New Zealand's dairy farms.

It replaces a 10-year-old document that's been overhauled in a two-year review.

Sharemilkers chair Ciaran Tully says that was necessary because there have been many changes in the dairy industry in the past decade.

He says the new agreement deals with safety around the farm, particularly where children are involved.

Mr Tully says the farm house has to have a stock proof fence around the house and if there are any children present at milking time a safe place for them must be available.

He says in terms of the agreement regarding milk payments, Fonterra brought out some changes in the method of payment for milk regarding milk price and dividend and the new contract takes that into account and clears up some grey areas.

Mr Tully says for those farmers with herds of less than 300 cows who choose not to pay the dividend, there has been an agreed increase in milk price.

He says the agreement is enforced by law and farmers and sharemilkers have to sign the new document for this season.