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In New Zealand and around the world our industry plays an important role in supporting rural livelihoods and community development.

Dairy’s role in enriching communities.

The production of milk and dairy products touches the lives of up to a billion people, from family-run farms to international businesses. The dairy industry makes a significant contribution to regional New Zealand and to the national economy.

Fonterra’s unique position in contributing to New Zealand’s economy


As a co-operative, we are owned by 10,000 farmer shareholders in New Zealand. The money we earn through exporting dairy products around the world is returned to our farmer shareholders in the regions.

Last year we returned $10 billion to our New Zealand farmer suppliers.

We provide employment opportunities throughout rural New Zealand. A recent study by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) for DCANZ2 showed New Zealand’s dairy industry employs over 40,000 people; 27,500 worked on farms and 13,000 were involved in dairy processing. These workers are paid higher wages than comparable jobs in other industries.

How Fonterra is making this happen


Our focus is on improving the long-term well-being of our farmers and communities.

We will:

  • Support healthy sustainable livelihoods for our farmers by returning the most value from every drop of milk by driving volume to higher value

  • Provide positive livelihoods for our people by developing a diverse, skilled and agile workforce and promoting a healthy and safe working environment

  • Invest in the future of our communities by sharing what we do best and building farming capability in key emerging dairy markets.

Key Highlights


  • Economic contribution: $19.2 billion revenue, $10 billion to New Zealand farmers
  • Engaged employees: Strong improvements in employee engagement, highest recorded level since we began surveying in 2010
  • Fonterra Milk for Schools: Every school day, 140,000 Kiwi children are drinking milk our farmers provide, for free
  • Dairy Development programme: Sharing our dairy expertise with farm

Explore the regions

Stories from our regions.

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