What are our 2014 Scholars up to?

They are also planning to present as a team at the B+LNZ Ag Innovation conference in May being organised by 2014 scholar Mel Poulton. Each person will highlight a couple of different trends or key global issues as they saw them, and how that relates to NZ Primary Industries and to our Farmers – what should farmers be aware of and plan for.
Lucy Griffiths (Cruikshank) got married in December and after that is back doing what she loves – marketing and sales strategy and coaching for NZ food companies. She’s currently working with a manuka honey company on exports to Dubai, an organic blackcurrant company, a meat company selling direct through facebook and promoting the bourgeoning sheep dairy industry up and down the Country. Her involvement in the Governance space is increasing and she was recently elected as Junior VP of the NZ Licensing Trust Association.
Paul Olsen has been busy back on the farm in full swing of potato harvest and despite dry conditions a good crop is promised. He has been active with articles around potato industry and is speaking at several conferences including the FAR conference in July.
Dan Shand is dealing with the drought in North Canterbury but has found time to judge the South Island Ballance Awards, including visits.
John Murphy has just handed in his report having an extension to allow him to complete his CSC. He took the opportunity to complete the last of his research before locking himself away to write up. He is now fully into his garlic harvesting.
Mel Poulton is back fully into her role with Beef & Lamb NZ while working out how she engages with industry to take the findings of her research to the next stage and into government strategy. Mel was our host for the GFP NZ group for 5 of the 6 days and was able to share her wealth of knowledge.

New Zealand must embrace long term relationships with Asia

New Zealand agriculture must embrace long term relationships with our Asian customers, in particular China, says 2011 Nuffield Scholar David Campbell of Canterbury."Too many New Zealanders misunderstand China and its potential. It troubles me that so many of us have such a narrow view on China given they are our number one market for the next century," he says.
Mr Campbell has just completed his Nuffield Scholarship study report detailing two Asian markets, China and India, and outlining key market advantages, challenges and high level solutions to help create sustainable and profitable future markets for NZ agriculture.
In the last decade New Zealand agricultural exports to Asia have increased 71% to NZ$6 billion with China now the largest of these Asian markets. Growth is set to continue as the Asian economies continue to outpace those of the US or Europe.
"An increasing proportion of Asia’s large population will develop internationally competitive purchasing power and consumers will be more able to afford the safe, high quality and innovative foods that NZ agriculture is capable of producing," he says.
Mr Campbell spent March through August 2011 overseas as part of his Nuffield Scholarship. He said being so far away from normal life and work (Synlait in Canterbury) was a great part of the challenge and the experience. First on the schedule was a global focus tour with a group of Australian Nuffield scholars.
"We basically went around the world – Brazil, Mexico, the US, Canada, Scotland – looking at all aspects of agriculture. We looked at farms and farm systems, visited processors, research institutions, wholesalers, retailers, trade officials and government departments – even the US Congress. An important part of the whole Nuffield experience is to give a well-<wbr></wbr>rounded look at agriculture globally."
David met up with his wife Sue in Italy before heading off on his own three month study tour of India, China and Japan to form the basis of his just-<wbr></wbr>released report.
"China is described as New Zealand agriculture’s number one market for the next century due to its on-<wbr></wbr>going economic strength, population dynamics and Government policy direction. The New Zealand/China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and our reputation for high standards of food safety represent key market advantages for us."
But he says New Zealand also faces challenges in understanding and engaging with Chinese customers, including language and cultural barriers, low purchasing power parity, New Zealand’s lack of capital and scale and Chinese Government processes.
The release of Mr Campbell’s report is timely given the recent interest and comment on the Chinese purchase of the Crafar farms. He doesn’t want to specifically enter the debate but says it illustrates some of the key findings of his study.
"It’s had a pretty thorough thrashing already. I personally believe the OIO made the right decision, and that it appears that Landcorp is doing a good job of engaging with the Chinese buyer for a win-<wbr></wbr>win outcome."
"My four key solutions for China are; get closer to the customer, build relationships, extend the value chain with a ‘One World’ approach, and get clear on strategy so we focus our attentions on what the customer wants and how we can add value for them. China is setting up long term strategic partnerships and supply chains around the globe. They’re demonstrating they want to engage with the world. NZ has natural advantages and a great reputation in agriculture so it makes sense for China to look for agricultural investments and relationships here," he says.
He says one of New Zealand agriculture’s key advantages over its competitors at the moment is the country’s status as the first OECD nation to sign a free trade agreement with China.
"But we’re missing out on some of the benefits that the FTA has created because of an apparent fear of Chinese investment. We’re really short of capital, and China has lots to invest. So we have to marry the two together – take the capital and the pathway to market, concentrate on what we do really well or where we have unique advantages, and commit to mutually-<wbr></wbr>beneficial relationships. If we’re too narrow-<wbr></wbr>minded in our view on China, they will look elsewhere and we will miss out forever."
"If people take the time to visit China they will see there’s a significant amount of pollution, large tracts of land in China are desert and there is huge pressure on natural resources to sustain their population. They just don’t have the agricultural production they need to feed themselves. And they often don’t trust the safety of the food that they do produce. This provides a great opportunity for New Zealand agriculture to capitalise on," he says.
India represents a significant potential market for NZ agriculture worthy of development and investment; however it is currently a much smaller market than China. One of the advantages for New Zealand agriculture is an existing "brand NZ" presence through international cricket, while market challenges include significant agricultural tariffs, diverse culture and taste preferences, low beef consumption, lack of significant cold chain and modern retail infrastructure and bureaucracy.
For India, one of Mr Campbell’s four key solutions is to encourage the signing of a NZ/India bilateral FTA.
"I had never been to Asia before but that was part of the challenge for me – it was quite foreign – but I had a strong belief I needed to know more about it because it’s so important to the future of agriculture in New Zealand."
He will be presenting his report to the Allflex Platinum Primary Producers Conference in March, as well as the Nuffield Conference in April and is happy to discuss his findings with others in the industry interested in greater engagement with Asia.
The report can be downloaded from www.nuffield.org.nz or by clicking here.
For more information please contact:
David Campbell on 03 373 3052 (work), 021 0239 7306 or email David.Campbell@synlait.com.
Barbie Barton, NZ Nuffield Scholarship Trust, 06 304 9495

2014 Nuffield NZ Scholars announced

Nuffield New Zealand announced these new scholars for 2014 at a function in Parliament last Thursday night for North Canterbury sheep and beef farmer and entrepreneur Dan Shand, Marlborough Garlic general manager and vineyard owner John Murphy; Masterton sales and marketing entrepreneur Lucy Cruickshank, Palmerston North potato grower Paul Olsen from Opiki near Palmerston North and Beef + Lamb NZ western North Island extension manager Mel Poulton from Woodville.
Their research topics are likely to cover issues such as mobile technology, the international distribution of NZ’s information and technology, turning good farming into big business, potato (cropping) production and the positioning of manuka and other honey off shore.
The five new scholars join more than 140 others who have been awarded Nuffield Scholarships in the past 60 years. A Nuffield Scholarship is one of New Zealand’s most valuable and prestigious awards with a limited number awarded each year, says Nuffield NZ chairman Julian Raine.
“To be awarded a Nuffield Scholarship is to be awarded a life changing experience. Nuffield New Zealand is investing in our future rural leaders."
The Nuffield NZ Scholarship offers the opportunity for overseas travel, study of the latest developments in a number of leading agricultural countries, and provides an entrée to leaders and decision makers not accessible to the ordinary traveller.
Successful applicants have the opportunity to develop a better understanding of New Zealand and international relationships through at least four months travel. Scholars participate in a Contemporary Scholars conference with 60 Nuffield Scholars from around the world and a six-week Global Focus Programme with an organised itinerary through several countries with other scholars. Finally they have their own individual study programme with a research report due at the end of their travels.

Social Licence To Operate or Licence to Produce

By Kate Scott, 2018 Nuffield New Zealand Scholar
It’s not every day you walk into a room of 80 odd people and the entire room is abuzz with chatter, where people come together with a common and passionate link – agriculture and food. It’s also not every day that you get to attend the Contemporary Scholars Conference (CSC) as a Nuffield Scholar.
This year we were able to travel to the proverbial home of agriculture, the Netherlands for a week of immersion in all things Nuffield, including the opportunity to hear from some great speakers, to enter into some challenging debates, see some of the amazing opportunities that the Netherlands have to grow food, as well as to hear about the challenges that the Netherlands is facing in the agriculture space. It was however surprising that despite the Netherlands producing approximately 12 billion litres of milk per year that it was not overly easy to find fresh milk for your cuppa tea!
A couple of highlights included the opportunity to cycle to the farm of 2015 Scholar Gerjan Snippe where we were able to see the inner workings of Biobrass their organic cooperative farming business, and for me a highlight was also being able to attend the Royal Holland Flower Market, a modest 270ha area of land dedicated entirely to the selling and distribution of flowers and plants! (the inside tip for those of you interested in flowers, is that ‘pastel’ colours are on trend for the coming seasons).
It was also a great opportunity to visit the recently opened World Horticulture Centre, which was a great example of collaborative use of space between industry, education and research to advance development in the Horticulture sector.  The Netherlands is truly world leading when it comes to horticulture and their ability to grow an abundance of food and produce, especially from a relatively small footprint.
I was also given the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion on the ‘future of agriculture 2030’ from a New Zealand perspective. This enabled me to reflect on where we are at the moment, and what the opportunities might be for New Zealand in the future. One of the key things that came to mind for me was that there is a clear need for us to have an agriculture strategy, and that we need to focus on having the hard conversations so that there is a path forward for NZ to be the most environmentally friendly farming nation in the world. The opportunity is there for us as the leaders in the agriculture sector to seize, but we need to be brave enough to start the conversation.
Despite a jammed packed schedule at the CSC, there was also opportunity to observe some commonality amongst the various countries represented including the increasing disconnect between rural and urban communities, leading to a number of discussions around ‘social licence to operate’ or ‘licence to produce’. I was interested by the fact that many felt that NZ was perhaps the country feeling some of the most significant scrutiny, with a few people commenting on the fact that New Zealand’s farmers are now considered to be on the table of social standing at about the same level as the politicians.
There was also a lot of talk about the vegan movement, which I observed as creating a lot of angst for some amongst the room. However, where some see this as a threat to the agriculture sector, I see it as an opportunity. I don’t believe we are going to change the views of those who are so strongly engrained in their vegan view of the world, but I also don’t see that there will be a move to the majority of people choosing to be vegans (certainly not in the short to medium term).
The opportunity to focus on providing good quality, nutritious food which is known to be safe, exceeds animal welfare requirements and growing in an environmentally sustainable way is where we need to be spending our time. Those nations who can move quickly towards providing this certainty, traceability and confidence in their food, stand to prosper from the increasing knowledge that food consumers have. I believe New Zealand has the ability to lead this space.
After having spent the week in the Netherlands I am still firmly of the view that New Zealand is still at the leading edge in many aspects, and that if we can foster a collaborative approach to managing the effects of agriculture, that our future will continue to prosper as an agricultural leading nation.

The Future As We Know It

By Solis Norton, 2018 Nuffield New Zealand Scholar
The Nuffield Contemporary Scholars Conference mixed some 100 plus forward thinking rural professionals from around the world for a week in an intense learning environment. The group was primed by top level speakers, who outlined current and projected issues for global primary food production. They then burst onwards into networking, brainstorming, and debates on the path ahead in the coming decades.
The diversity and intensity of discussion held all day and long into the night is hard to describe. The broad spectrum of professional experience and opinion, in a positive and engaging environment created conversations that became quite literally storms of ideas across the agricultural landscape.
A while later in the relative calm of the long haul flight to Washington I picked around in the debris for a conclusion and what I found was this.
Yes, there are global reports describe how food production and the human population will look in 2050. Roughly double the food and nine billion people being a widely held consensus. But these reports should be closely accompanied by two critical points. The first; they are based only on what has happened in the past. The second; they represent the distillation of many expert opinions, which on an individual level often diverge extensively. Don’t be thinking for a moment that they are all in agreement, or that the path to 2050 is even remotely clear.
Africa is a good example. On the one hand, there is concern at population growth rates there, the low level of agricultural development, and the questionable ability of developed nations to supplement its food production in future. On the other hand the potential to increase food production there is great, the average age is low, and their level of connectivity to the internet is growing rapidly. Relative to the over exploited systems of developed countries, the aged farming population, and great burdens of debt, Africa is a resource, and as likely to be exporting food in 2050 as importing it.
Despite the ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ in combining the political, social, economic, cultural, and environmental dimensions of global food production there are some big pictures worth noting.
One is rapidly growing concern at increasing protectionism and populism and their impact on trade. Where this ends up is anyone’s guess which makes it even more alarming.
Another is how to repair the growing disconnection between the producer and consumer. The comparatively low cost and abundance of food that was such a wonderful achievement following the second world war is now working directly against farmers as consumers lose appreciation for it. This model needs to be fixed.
A third is the ‘race to the bottom’ for lowest cost food production. Often perceived to be achievable through intensification and technological advancement it goes hand in hand with debt. This model needs fixing too and is a particular risk for farmers in New Zealand. There was a surprisingly strong consensus that the more intense systems we saw on farm visits during the conference were well beyond reasonable ethical and environmental limitations. We saw first-hand the growing tension between sustainability and profit.
Another is shifting climate. Farmers from every corner of the planet spoke of sensing changes in their local climatic conditions. This came with no small amount of apprehension.
And of course the old dogs of commodity versus value add production, subsidies, a shortage of good labour, and the price of land were all in the mix too.
There was virtually no mention of the role of energy in agriculture. Nor discussion of the risk or impact of restrictions on production and trade resulting from emissions regulations or high energy costs. I found this deeply alarming.
In short, the Contemporary Scholars Conference contrasted the very diverse opinions on our path to 2050. This was both daunting and exciting. The perennial issues in agriculture are alive and well, particularly protectionism, consumer perception, and sustainability along with climate. I came away feeling that there is room to manoeuvre to meet the challenges ahead. But proactive and genuine change will be essential to our success.

Strengthen Our Adaptability by Developing Collaborative Models

By Andy Elliot, 2018 Nuffield New Zealand Scholar
It’s been a whirl wind week here in the Netherlands, I wasn’t too sure what to expect in terms of the whole experience and I honestly believe that it will take a while for it to all sink in. The first challenge was the meeting and working together with another 75 other future leaders from around the world. It was incredible, stimulating, challenging and empowering. It really pushed me and forced me to look critically at myself and my perceptions.
Sitting here now reflecting on the week, I realise that there were a few themes emerge that have been interesting to dive deeper into, some issues have been specific to the Netherlands, but many relate to New Zealand.
One of these is the obvious pressures farmers are feeling to become more demand, rather than supply driven. It’s very difficult under a backdrop of subsidy, but we met a few of small operators who are achieving this transition successfully by moving to a direct to customer, or value add proposition within their business model. These farmers are the innovators, the first movers who will always find a gap and are prepared to tread a different path. In the Netherlands, these innovators are supplying a very concentrated local market with quality products. But what about the rest of the farmers?
We learnt that the Netherlands has approximately three (3) small farmers leaving their land every day. They are walking off for several reasons; some of these include the income not being there, there are increasing legislative and regulatory layers and cost and the average farmer is becoming older without a younger generation succeeding them. For every farmer in Europe under twenty five there are seven over seventy five years. The average land price is close to €60000/H and these issues are not unfamiliar for us in NZ. 

The Dutch cannot afford to continue to lower the cost of their production and rage battle over commodity prices, as like New Zealand, production costs are too high. Exports need a clear identity, a story, a differentiation from others, which will attract and appeal to the consumers purchasing choice. The other driver in loss of value would be volume, but that’s a bit more challenging to manage.
Can everyone innovate and become a supplier direct to consumer? Is everybody capable of becoming an entrepreneur? I’d suggest not, but we can all change what we do, and we can all prepare ourselves to be in a better position, when such disruption is being forced upon us.

Photo on the leftt: Egg vending machine – Tomesen Pluimveehouderij. A good example of a farmer transitioning from wholesale to direct to customer.
I think, like the Dutch we need to improve our ability to collaborate and work together. There are many ways of diversifying or differentiating. It may be through supply chain or through the way we value and treat our environment or using technology within our business.  

It could be through diversifying the products we produce or even through the capture and use of data within our farms. What we do not want to do is put our whole business at risk by hoping it will fix itself.
We can strengthen our adaptability by developing collaborative models or through the investment in doing things differently; research and development, transfer of technology and most importantly regular engagement with the customer and consumer to maintain awareness of their changing needs. This will all help decrease our risk, while enabling us to be more resilient to a changing export market.
Traditional farmers in the Netherlands are currently struggling to adapt to their new environment, even though the world may see the Netherlands as the innovators and technology creators.  The challenge is real and often daunting, but I believe NZ is already very well positioned to adapt faster.
Image on the right: The kilometres of glasshouses around Rotterdam and the Royal Dutch Flower Market 

The Nuffield Scholarship Programme

The award offers the opportunity for overseas travel, study of the latest developments in a number of leading agricultural countries, and provides an entrée to leaders and decision makers not accessible to the ordinary traveller.The Trust comprises those previous scholars who recognise the benefits they and New Zealand agriculture have enjoyed as a result of the sharing of the Nuffield experience.
The Trust assists past scholars to continue to share the benefits of their scholarship, to share new experiences and ideas and to locate and foster potential new leaders for New Zealand agriculture in its many forms.
In addition, the New Zealand Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust provides a network for information through newsletters, the website and conferences between former scholars to keep them up to date with Trust developments.
This site tells you more about the Nuffield organisation, its history, its future and the opportunities it presents.
Our mission is to develop leadership and excellence in all aspects of New Zealand agriculture and we are happy to share this with you.