Beyond the Tanker Track: the social influence of dairying in Southland, 1992 to 2012

The aim of this study was to investigate the social influence that the recent growth of dairying has had in Southland. Over 60 semi-structured and informal interviews were undertaken with a wide cross-section of organisations and individuals. Quantitative data was used to complement the qualitative data. The growth of dairying has provided sheep farmers with more farming options through dairy support and increasing their equity. It has created downstream employment for dairy services and suppliers and, consequently, more employment opportunities. Rural communities are being revitalised through the influx of younger people. Primary schools are more multicultural and their roll decline has been arrested, but the transience associated with dairying creates problems. Community relationships have been affected by the different values of dairy farmers. Their occupational demands also affect their ability to participate in community activities. Southlanders perceive that dairying does impact on the environment with iwi recognising a loss of some traditional food sources. However, most participants believe environmentally-related compliance is improving. The overall finding is that dairying has revitalised an ailing Southland economy by creating a wider range of employment opportunities, drawing in a more youthful population, and generating a more diversified economic base.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2020-10-28

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