Canterbury processor Synlait is boosting its presence on New Zealand supermarket shelves.
Lead With Pride programme is the first independent programme in the New Zealand agricultural industry to become an approved audit management system.
It is the first of its kind in Australasia, and encourages best practice dairy farming.
“It is our flagship programme. It puts into action the things that really matter to us by partnering with our milk suppliers to use best practice to look after animals, protect the environment and care for people on farm. Of course it also focuses on food safety and the quality of the milk our suppliers produce,” says John Penno, Synlait’s managing director.
It has been run by Synlait for five years and ensures milk suppliers meet prescribed requirements for environment, milk quality, animal health and welfare, and social responsibility.
This approval means that Environment Canterbury have confidence in the systems being run on Synlait’s certified Lead With Pride farms.
As a result, these farms are less likely to face additional compliance inspections by Environment Canterbury as they meet auditing standards through Lead With Pride™.
Environment Canterbury is the regional council responsible for a wide variety of functions, including environmental monitoring, regional biosecurity, and the issuing of permits and consents.
“This is fantastic news for Synlait as it shows Environment Canterbury recognises the integrity of our programme and the high standards we have for our certified Lead With Pride milk suppliers,” says Penno.
“We set a high benchmark five years ago and we’re beginning to see the industry recognise that we are well ahead of the game.”
Environment Canterbury Chief Executive, Bill Bayfield, says this is the first time an independent party has had such an agreement with a regional council.
“We’re really pleased to have this approval in place with Synlait. By working in partnership in this way there will be better outcomes for farmers and for water quality in the region.”
To get the approval Synlait had to submit an application and supporting evidence to prove that milk suppliers certified under the Lead With Pride programme have sufficient control of their operation so that additional farm audits are no longer required.
Synlait currently has 50 Lead With Pride milk suppliers, and it is expected this will grow to more than a third of Synlait’s supply base by the end of the financial year.