|dc.description.abstract||This study explores issues arising from the adoption of the term 'clean and green' for marketing New Zealand dairy products. Three dimensions of environmental quality were investigated: that of sustainable dairying and best practice for the benefit of farmers and the industry; resource management legislation and being a 'good neighbour'; and export marketing opportunities and issues.
The study was undertaken during a time of major structural upheaval in the dairy industry, including yearly company amalgamations in the study area, rapid conversion of farmland to dairying, as well as factory expansion to process the increasing supply of product.
The focus of the study was on the individual farmer, how perceptions and preferences are formed, and how in turn, these influence farm practice. World views drawn from Cultural Theory were adopted as the basis for analysis. Farmers were classified according to particular world views and the symbolic and reflexive use of concepts such as 'clean and green' was analysed. A model of overlapping ecological, agricultural and social systems was used to develop a wider understanding of preference formation. Through a mixed methodology, focusing on a case study approach, farmer and stakeholder world views were compared on key themes, including the 'clean green' pastoral myth, 'cues for care' and environmental issues. Media discourse as well as consumer views were used to expand understanding of the context.
The study found that both farmers (within their groups) and stakeholders held different objectives and opinions on environmental issues and options for change, based on their various world views and preferences. There was general agreement both among farmers and stakeholders on the New Zealand 'clean green' image and 'cues for care', or signs that indicate good farm management. The reason for this was demonstrated to be the way in which these two aspects are communicated; through symbolic images that each individual perceived in terms of their respective world view.
A symbolic form of action, an environmental management system, was trialled with farmers. Analysis indicated that national aspirations created by the 'clean green' pastoral myth required farmers to respond to environmental expectations, but that an image that symbolized environment as care and quality, rather than as place was needed to provide a less ambiguous goal. The findings of the trial were integrated with theory to interpret context and develop policy, strategy and action proposals for a system for environmental quality for the industry.
The study has implications for non-regulatory mechanisms relevant to sustainable dairy farming, communication within the rural community, and branding.||en