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The only constant

Matt Cooney photograph

The last time Idealog wrote about dairy farming was in December 2005, in our launch issue. A magazine dedicated to ideas might not seem like a natural home for a dairy story, but we had high hopes for Synlait, a mid-Canterbury venture that sought to break Fonterra’s monopoly on our milk exports.

After all, in New Zealand, the dairy industry is exactly what a magazine dedicated to ideas should be writing about. Our primary sector effectively built this country and it’s crucial to our future. If there’s a single area where innovative thinking will have the greatest returns, this is it.

So it’s not surprising that dairy would attract the attention and investment of clued-up business people like Gareth and Sam Morgan. What is surprising is the location of their dairy-farming venture, Leitíssimo: slap-bang in the middle of Brazil.

If ever we needed proof that the myth of New Zealand as a grass factory is just that— a myth—then Leitíssimo provides it. Founder Simon Wallace tells us on page 66 the yield of the land can be three times better than he’d get in the Waikato. Gulp. Should we be concerned? Well, no. Currently our dairy industry exports milk solids and cheese—milk itself doesn’t handle the trip well. But if you can’t take your product to market, then at least you can take your production there. Wallace describes the venture as a combination of Kiwi genetics and farming knowledge, the on-the-ground experience of the locals and the presence of a massive market nearby. What a great model.

We’re tweaking the model at Idealog, too. You’ll see many changes in this issue: a new design and new arrangement. We’ve beefed up our back-of-the-book opinion and intel sections, and broken it into six key sectors. We have new writers, more content, and a new, broader mission to write about ideas and innovation throughout New Zealand business, not just in the creative sectors. We’re excited about the improved Idealog.

But print is just the beginning. As this magazine reaches newsstands, we’ll be flicking the switch on a beautiful new website, with daily business news, complete archives of the magazine and blogs, and a new daily email newsletter to keep you up to date with essential news for Kiwi innovators. It’s all free, of course. We encourage you to sign up at idealog.co.nz/join. And come say hello to us on Facebook and Twitter, too.

And we’re making a change on this page also. I’ve loved editing Idealog but it’s time for a new challenge, so I’m moving to a digital role with our co-conspirator company, &some. I’m delighted to welcome Hazel Phillips to the magazine, and grateful for the support over the past half-decade of Idealog’s inspiring readers, top-notch staff and amazing contributors. I’ll see you at idealog.co.nz.