The New Zealand Deer Farmers’ Association (NZDFA) provides a strong, independent voice for New Zealand deer farmers.
The Association enjoys a good working relationship with Deer Industry New Zealand and supports DINZ’s strategic vision for a “Cohesive and Respected Industry”. While DINZ provides administrative and other support through the producer manager, the roles of the two organisations are distinct.
NZDFA has achieved important gains on behalf of its members and continues to advocate for deer farmers.
The highly successful Next Generation Programme fosters succession, career development and new networks in the industry. It has been running annually since 2013 and is jointly funded by DFA and DINZ. Each programme is developed by the previous Next Generation attendees and the host branch.
To read more about the Next Generation programme, click here >>
To view events happening in the deer industry, click here >>
NZDFA supports, promotes and participates in the Passion2Profit (P2P) programme, which supports venison market development and on-farm profitability and productivity improvement. (P2P is co-funded by DINZ and the Ministry for Primary Industries.)
The on-farm component of P2P is the Advance Party (AP) programme. Many DFA members are heavily involved as AP group members and/or organisers. Branches host P2P Regional Workshops to help share the lessons from APs with the wider membership.
NZDFA works closely with DINZ’s environmental stewardship and P2P Deer Industry Environmental Group programmes.
The Association provides strong local support and advocacy for deer farmer members, especially with regional councils on water quality and land use issues. This is a major area for voluntary branch input. It helps members get to grips with local regional council plans and rules and have their voices heard in decisions affecting how they farm.
The NZDFA strongly supports the industry aim of all deer farmers developing a formal Farm Environment Plan, something that is becoming required by some regional councils.
Farm Environment Plan (FEP) workshops
The NZDFA supports FEP workshops organised through the P2P Deer Industry Environment Groups.
Deer Industry Environmental Management Code of Practice: 2018
The NZDFA collaborated with DINZ in this industry-leading initiative. It showcased the focus that the deer industry and NZ deer farmers have for maintaining and enhancing their farms and supporting the industry’s growing reputation for environmental stewardship. It also gave deer farmers a good head start in meeting new regulatory requirements as they have rolled out. The NZDFA also played a strong part in the development of earlier deer industry landcare manuals, with an emphasis on “by farmers, for farmers”. To view the Code of Practice, click here >>
NZDFA has had input into changes in OSPRI’s Tb Free NZ risk-based programme, helping achieve a significant reduction in the testing burden for deer farmers.
The NAIT traceability system presented challenges for farmers when it was implemented for deer in 2013. NZDFA has helped negotiate various NAIT exclusions and allowances, acknowledging the special requirements of deer. These include:
- Deer are able to use different colours for the male component of the NAIT tag. This can help with management for identifying deer age groups, etc. Cattle are required to use all-white tags (male/female).
- Fallow deer have been exempted from the scheme as retention rates are below required standards.
- Trophy farms are able to lodge an application with NAIT verifying that they are a game park and therefore can remove tags upon advising NAIT for transport to the property.
- An Unsafe To Tag exemption allowing dangerous animals to be trucked to processors without tags; a fee is still payable for this.
- Practical concessions and new, less costly requirements for deer farmers joining the scheme and for timing of tagging newborn and capital stock.
NZDFA negotiated a members’ discount on NAIT tags through Leader Tags, with up to a 15% saving available on verification of current membership.
NZDFA co-funds various industry-good projects. These have included:
National, regional, branch, breed-specific (elk/wapiti) and age-specific (“Rising Stars”) velvet and hard antler competitions are held each year, supporting antler quality and industry development. The events are also a great catalyst for networking and friendship within the deer farming community. Competition results can be found here >>
NZDFA Environmental Awards
These showcase the high-performing farmers whom have enhanced their properties and successfully managed environmental challenges. The biennial awards were instigated by the late Sir Peter Elworthy and the premier award carries his name. The inaugural awards were made in 2001.
Winners play an important role providing practical examples of how to tackle environmental challenges and create sustainable solutions while also becoming more profitable.
To see results from previous awards, click here >>
NZDFA Matuschka Award
Nominations are invited for a farmer or farming entity who has made a significant ongoing or lifetime of contribution to deer farming and the NZDFA in particular at branch and regional level in any aspect for deer farming.
The award recognises the grass roots farmer and unsung contributor to local area activities, functions and core spirit of deer farming. It is announced at the deer industry conference each year.
The award itself is presented to the winner at a special mid-winter function in the recipient’s branch.
For further information, click here >>
Honours Board for Life Members
Currently there are 13 life members by nominated and approved by tradition through the National Council or Executive Committee from the years of DFA operations.
For further information, click here >>
- Local branch field days and events
- Involvement in development of the Game Animal Council
- Consulted on former Productivity Improvement Programme and investment in the next generation of deer farmers
- Support for leadership development in association with DINZ and the Ian Spiers Memorial Trust.
This comprehensive monthly electronic newsletter is provided for paid-up NZDFA members. Content includes local and national news, deer farming-related information and a diary of events.
Issues following #165 can be found on the NZDFA news and publications page >>
To view any issues prior to 148 (February 2020), please contact the DINZ office >>
Deer Industry News is the official in-print publication of NZDFA and DINZ. The bi-monthly magazine is distributed to all deer farmers and those with an interest in the industry. The magazine carries regular reports on NZDFA activities.
For more information and issues pre-July 2021, click here >>
Issues after July 2021 can be found on the Deer Industry stories page, here >>