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 national Executive Committee and Selection and Appointments Panel (SAP) are responsible for electing four of the eight DINZ board members.
This key function ensures deer farmers interests are well represented at the governance level of the industry.
The Executive Committee will meet with both the DINZ Executive and DINZ Board throughout the year to discuss all aspects of the industry but mostly to ensure grassroots deer farmers thoughts are heard.
We do this to ensure balanced decisions are made for the industry and its farmers.
Funds are available to support branch projects (or external projects with branch support) are available on a case-by-case basis.
The highly successful Next Generation Programme fosters succession, career development and new networks in the industry. The two-day event attracts ~60 registrants each August and usually organised alongside a local branch. It has been running annually since 2013 and is jointly funded by DFA and DINZ.
To read more about the Next Generation programme, click here >>
To view events happening in the deer industry, click here >>
This combined NZDFA, DINZ Board and Executive combined meeting with the Branch Chair’s includes the “New Faces” initiative, an industry leadership development in association with DINZ and the Ian Spiers Memorial Trust.
The Branch Chairs also meet in May before the AGM to discuss important matters.
The NZDFA works closely alongside DINZ’s environmental stewardship programme.
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 is working closely with OSPRI to move into works-based Tb monitoring for most and phasing out of formal skin testing obligations, helping achieve a significant reduction in the testing burden for deer farmers.
We also have a good dialogue with NAIT (National Animal Animal Identification & Tracing) and were successful in lobbying for deer to be exempt from mandatory double tagging.
Historically, the 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 were 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.
The NZDFA actively engage, donate, and coordinate support for farmers when needed.
Alongside on-the-ground support after Cyclone Gabrielle, the NZDFA organised an auction raising $117,000 that will be used to help affected farmers.
Your local branch is your first point of contact for what is happening in the area.
Branches support the deer farming industry through various activities including field days, velvet competitions and social events for members and the wider community.
They also advocate on behalf of their members and communicate with the Executive Committee and DINZ.
To find details on your local branch, head to deernz.org/nzdfa/contact-us and click on the Branch Chairs tab >>
Co-funding industry-good projects
These have included:
- Succession planning workshops
- Johne’s disease research
- Focus farms
- Landcare manuals
- Deer parasite research including drench resistance studies and New Approaches to Control Parasites, part of an AGMARDT Agribusiness Innovation Grant. See media release here >>
Events and Awards
Velvet and Hard Antler Competitions
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 14 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 >>
- 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.
- NZDFA submission on Pricing agricultural emissions 18-11-2022 >>
This comprehensive monthly electronic newsletter is provided for paid-up NZDFA members and active deer farmers to highlight the work of the NZDFA. Contents include local and national news, links to deer farming related information and as a diary of national and branch events.
DFA Stagline changed from Stagline Online in 2022.
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 >>