Canterbury farmer John Nicholls last month became the second farmer-nominated candidate to win a seat on Fonterra’s board.
Established in 2006, the GDP’s mission is to align and support the dairy industry to promote sustainable dairy nutrition.
Spierings says he is pleased to be taking on the role and playing a part in maximising the contribution dairy can make to the world.
“More than ever, people are turning to dairy for nutritional security and sustainable food and every day we see the good dairy can do.
“We also recognise the world will have more than two billion more mouths to feed by 2050. With food demand expected to increase by at least 50% in 2050, the challenge is how best to apply the goodness of dairy to the places and people that need it the most.
“Along with the role dairy plays in everyday nutrition, there is a real opportunity to work together and look at new ways we can make the nutritional benefits of dairy more available for those facing poverty and hunger and those fighting obesity.”
Spierings says good progress has been made since GDP was formed 11 years ago.
“At the same time if we are to make a real difference in a world where the pace of change is picking up, we need to be getting better every day and this will take real conviction and belief.”
Spierings, who has been a director on the GDP board since 2012, will succeed Dairy Farmers of America chief executive Rick Smith who has chaired the organisation since 2015.
“It has been a great privilege to serve as GDP’s chair,” said Smith.
“Over the last two years, GDP has provided strong leadership and strategic thinking to increase the credibility and visibility of the dairy sector in the international community, particularly within the United Nations. We have built a solid foundation to grow on.”
Smith will remain on the board with Arla Foods chief executive officer Peder Tuborgh and Royal FrieslandCampina chief executive Roelof Joosten.