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Chair Update: Andrew Watters

Andrew Watters, Nuffield New Zealand Chair

The Trustees held our second Board meeting of the year last week (early April) to address ‘business as usual’ matters focused on running two high quality leadership development programmes as well as the strategic development of the organisation.  The New Zealand Rural Leadership Trust (NZRLT) is the operational entity with the Nuffield New Zealand Farming Scholarship Trust (NFST) now operating as a capital fund for the future reinvestment in Nuffield Farming Scholarships. Nuffield Scholars at our biennial meetings can elect two (existing or new) trustees to make a total of four Nuffield appointed Trustees, with two independent appointees appointed by our National Advisory Committee made up from our investor partners. We also have an associate Trustee appointed from recent Nuffield scholars.

I reference this because under the Charities Act we must hold our ‘annual’ meeting every year, with the proposed date for the 2018 financial year being Friday 10 May 2019. We will conduct the meeting by a zoom video-conference invite.  During the meeting we will cover off the normal requirements, including the 2018 year-end financial position with the NFST. As requested at last year’s AGM we will provide you with an update on the financial situation with the RLT and we will also provide updates on Nuffield International, the 2020 Triennial, and our Rural Communities project.

As part of the AGM we will provide some feedback on the ‘one kitchen two restaurants’ concept developed five years ago – that saw the NZRLT be formed and take over the operations of both the Kellogg and Nuffield programmes in June 2017. The analysis shows that Kelloggs has been a great contributor to the financial performance of the NZRLT, which in turn has enabled us to improve and extend the Nuffield Scholarship programme.

As a reminder, our two programs are as follows:

Nuffield:

  • Develop emerging producer (farming) leaders by fast tracking their leadership pathway through GLOBAL exposure & learning
  • Equip scholars to analyse and untangle wicked /complex problems, thereby enabling effective provide producer input into decision making
  • Experiential learning with the tools to maximise opportunities available
  • High quality research project and global insights delivered to partners, farmers /growers and industry

Kellogg:

  • Providing the ideas, capability, motivation and skills to “enable” and empower leaders who can collaborate across sectors and geographically.
  • Providing the tools, skills, and pan sector understanding of NZ AGRIFOOD sector
  • Creating networks/friendships across sectors and country
  • Applying & demonstrating critical analysis, design thinking, strategic analysis, problem /opportunity solving
  • Transferable skills being Collaboration, Creativity and Communication
  • Kelloggs is an ideal pathway development programme into the Nuffield scholarship although candidates can successfully enter the Nuffield program directly.

As the NZRLT our unique proposition as an organisation is:

  • Experiential learning focus and global exposure (Nuffield)
  • The combined Kellogg and Nuffield alumni
  • Our proud and successful history with a positive view of change
  • Our insightful reports
  • Our pan sector representation and national reach

Craige Mackenzie and Anne Hindson attended the recent CSC programme in Iowa in the US. It is pleasing to see our five scholars standing out as a group with their enthusiasm, team work and work ethic. They were well prepared and showed their capability and potential. Craige represents New Zealand on the international board with the current focus on the financial sustainability of the organisation and delivering on current international scholar commitments. Nuffield International has important goals to extend Nuffield beyond the Commonwealth countries but is still in start-up mode.

Michael Tayler and his able team are making excellent progress on planning for the 2020 Triennial. The combination of the Nuffield New Zealand conference, the Agri-business Summit and the Nuffield 2020 Triennial (10 days from 20 March to 29 March, plus technical tours) makes this job a massive feat to organise with the resources of one contractor, volunteers and some support from NZRLT. We hope all our alumni will take on the host role and be part of the full programme.

Whilst we plan to update you on strategic matters at the AGM, our short-term focus is on building our potential pipeline of people (with an emphasis on farmers and growers) considering our two programmes. To that end we are to repeat our successful regional meeting initiative from 2017 to attract new potential applicants. This time the meetings will be open to both Kellogg and Nuffield applicants; we intend to utilise the meetings, to showcase our best scholars and to discuss the potential Rural Communities project. Our initial focus for meetings is Northland, Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay, top of the South, Central Otago and Southland. The NZRLT team may be in touch for suggestions and ideas for these meetings.

We look forward to a good discussion at the AGM on May 10th at 12.00pm!

Nuffield Triennial Conference Update: Michael Tayler

The last six months has been a very busy time for our Triennial Nuffield 2020 committee. With now only around 15 months until we have delegates arriving for our conference, we are very aware we still have a lot to do.  

Our aim is to produce a world-class conference that will showcase New Zealand’s innovative and leading edge agri-food sector. Highlighting Maori agriculture and demonstrating innovation and sustainability in our businesses. 

Some of the things we have been focusing on are; 

Communication/Marketing 

  • We have created a promotional video to be played at the individual countries conferences and will be putting another video out before registrations open 
  • We have created a basic website that we will continually add to www.nuffield2020.com  
  • We have set up social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter @Nuffield2020 and #Nuffield2020. 
  • NZ Alumni have been emailed a ‘save the date’ announcement including ways they can help 
  • International Alumni have been emailed a ‘save the date’ announcement with a program overview  
  • We have selected approximately 20 ‘Triennial Ambassadors’ from different year groups to help us promote the Triennial in their countries  

Biennial & Triennial Program 

  • Confirmed dates are:
    – Biennial  20th– 21st March 2020 
    –  Triennial 22nd-29th March 2020
    –  Technical tours 30th March – 1st April 2020 
  • We have selected catering and accommodation options 
  • We have spent time researching in the Central Otago and Canterbury regions looking at potential field trip options  
  • We have also put together a Program overview (attached: Triennial A4 Program Overview 181018). 

Sponsorship 

  • We have created a sponsorship prospectus document with insets for different levels of sponsorship 
  • Have been approaching targeted companies to become a partner of Nuffield 2020 

There is no doubt though that raising a sufficient level of sponsorship will have a key impact on our ability to put together a world-class conference so if any of the alumni have some suggestions, contacts or ideas regarding sponsorship we would welcome them. 

Finally, for our conference to be successful, we will need the help and support of our New Zealand alumni. This is a unique opportunity to show the rest of the world New Zealand agriculture at its best and we would love you to be a part of it.  

So please put 20th March – 1st April 2020 into your diaries now. We look forward to seeing you all in March 2020! 

 

Michael Tayler 

Chairman 

Nuffield Triennial 2020 

General Manager Update: Anne Hindson

We are reaching the end of a busy year for Rural Leaders and our two programmes – the Nuffield Scholarships & the Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme.  While we have tried to make this a year a time of some consolidation after the launch of the new organisation and branding and the increased responsibilities, the projects and opportunities keep arising and enthusiasm from a busy management and governance team keeps emerging!

For this last E Nuff of 2018, I would like to give an overview of the highlights and achievements of the organisation and the programmes for the year which has involved the contribution of a larger team as highlighted below. 

2018 Highlights/Achievements  

Marketing  

  • Launched new branding (logo & applications) for Rural Leaders and Kellogg programmes & Refreshed the Nuffield brand to modernise and be consistent with the branding of Rural Leaders as the organisation
     
  • Launched a new website hosting both programmes and Rural Leaders with multiple entry points 
  • Appointed a part-time marketer – Clara Sweetman to drive our marketing activities
  • Increased significantly the media coverage and exposure of Kellogg & Nuffield projects supported by our media partnerships 
  • Had at least 5 alumni featured in On Farm Story with David Kidd starring on a Country Calendar episode. 

Financial & Sponsorship  

  • Re-signed four of our programme partners for a further period – thank you for your support Farmlands, Zespri, Hort NZ, FAR 
  • Bought onboard new Service & Media partners with KPMG, NZ Farming Life (Dairy Exporter & Country Wide) and Global HQ (Farmers Weekly & Dairy Farmer) 
  • Introduced new accounting and reporting systems as required under the Charities Act, with the support of our KPMG partner. 

Governance  

  • Farewelled and thanked Chair Juliet Maclean for her exceptional leadership and contribution to the big changes introduced, particularly the new branding. 
  • Welcomed James Parsons on to the board as Nuffield appointed Trustee 
  • Recruited, after a robust selection process, a new independent Board member, Louise Webster who will start the role in January (click here for more info on Louise) 

Programmes  

Nuffield 

  • Hosted a Nuffield International GFP New Zealand leg in Hawkes Bay and Bay of Plenty in April 
  • Delivered a fantastic, well supported Nuffield NZ Biennial Conference in Tauranga in May, thanks to Dave Hurst and his team  
  • Discussed and debated high quality presentations from the 2016 & 2017 Scholars.  
  • Selected five high quality 2019 scholars (see their profiles in this E Nuff)  
  • 2018 Scholars presented insights and debated implications for NZ to an audience of our investing partners 
  • Hosted the 2019 Nuffield Awards with over 75 industry guests & alumni attending  
  • Launched Nuffield 2020 Triennial event globally with a great video resource 
  • Appointed a project manager for the Triennial – Deb Gee from Higher Perspectives Consulting  

Kellogg 

  • Ran two 6 x month Kellogg programmes coordinating the involvement of over 40 industry leaders 
  • Graduated 48 new leaders within a broad diversity of sectors, geographical location, gender, age, ethnicity.
  • Published 48 new pieces of rural research for industry & public use. 

Our vision of “Growing NZ Through Thriving Rural Communities” and the achievement of the steps toward this could not be achieved without the ongoing contribution and time of the following; 

Rural Leaders Team:  Programme Coordinator Lisa Rogers, Marketing & Comms Clara Sweetman, our Kellogg programme leader Scott Champion and Project Support Patrick Aldwell & Nuffield Advisor, Hamish Gow. 

The Trustees:  Andrew Watters (Chair), Hamish Fraser, Michael Tayler, James Parsons, Craige Mackenzie, Associate Matt Hocken and Juliet Maclean (chair prior to June) 

Strategic partner representatives (National Advisory Group) 

  • Dairy NZ – Jenny Jago (prior to May – Mark Paine) 
  • Agmardt – Malcolm Nitsche 
  • Beef + Lamb NZ – Doug Macredie and Richard Wakelin 
  • FMG – Andrea Brunner 
  • Mackenzie Charitable Foundation  –  Mary Ross 

Programme Partners: Farmlands, FAR, Horticulture NZ, Zespri, MPI, TIAA  

From us all, at Rural Leaders, we wish all a great Xmas and New Year.

 

Chair Update: Andrew Watters

Andrew Watters, Nuffield New Zealand Chair

This time of the year is a busy period for trustees, selecting and presenting our 2019 Nuffield scholars.  The process is robust and involves shortlisting, referee checks and of course the interview process.  It all culminates with the announcement in the Banquet Hall of Parliament in early November. 

You will see from the profiles that we have very good hands-on farmers in this year’s selection with representation in dairy, sheep & beef, fibre, arable sectors.  It is also notable that the topics initially selected (which can change) are very outward/ market/ customer focused in recognition that the challenges and opportunities facing many sectors are more about the how and why of what we are doing on-farm than the what. 

We obtained excellent feedback from this year’s scholar announcement event.  Prior to the Awards, we had a highly valuable two-hour session engaging returning scholars and programme partners on topics and perspectives facing NZ and global agriculture.  And at the formal announcement at Parliament more than 75 people enjoyed hearing perspectives on the 2018 Scholar’s preliminary insights on their research topic which included challenges of setting environmental policy, the physical limitations of moving to low carbon energy systems, the need to optimise farm systems within environmental limits, the need for NZ agriculture to up its game on biosecurity and the opportunities for high value nutritional ingredients. 

One notable fact that we will be addressing in future selections is the lack of diversity amongst our scholar group.  We are under-represented this year in horticulture, in Maori agribusiness and in women scholars.  This isn’t an issue of selection, it is an issue of ensuring that we get a sufficiently diverse group of applicants.  We will be developing some plans to address this for the new year.  The answer is probably a mix of better engagement with our business partners and sponsors around candidate nomination and some more activity in the regions. 

Since our last Enuff, I am pleased to confirm the appointment of Louise Webster as an independent trustee.  As noted on our website, Louise brings a different skill set based around technology, innovation and leadership development.  Louise will join the Trust Board in January following a six-month sabbatical in Europe looking at the agri-food and other sectors.  We look forward to her contribution helping us ensure we remain relevant in a fast-changing world. 

I can also report on progress on the Thought Leadership or Rural Communities project.  Utilising the ‘Good to Great’ hedgehog as an organising concept, we have confirmed as a Trust that we are passionate about “Growing New Zealand through thriving rural communities”.  We are working on the other two components of the hedgehog but believe we can be world’s best at “Developing rural leaders that can solve (or untangle) wicked problems”.  And finally, we think that our real economic engine (how we secure ongoing funding) is “delivering leaders, and cost-effective solutions, that can address wicked problems” for our programme partners and sponsors. 

A wicked problem is defined as a problem that is difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory and changing requirements that may be difficult to recognise.  An effort to solve one aspect of a wicked problem may create other problems.
 

The trend towards commoditisation, the need to meet environmental standards, climate change, the role of genetic engineering, attracting young kiwis to work on farms are all examples of wicked problems.  Often these problems are across industry rather than within industry silos. 

As an organisation, we have limited resources so we need to crawl before we walk.  What we can do in the near term is ensure that our new scholars (Nuffield and Kelloggs) understand the wicked problem concept and can develop their topic area into an aspect that we need to solve for the future of NZ agriculture.  We then need to better leverage the post scholarship period to ensure scholars can engage with our partners and the alumni to transfer their knowledge into positive action. 

Finally, as we near the Christmas period it is important to acknowledge the work of Anne Hindson and her very small team.  They are currently fully engaged in running the Nuffield (working with 2018 and 2019 scholar groups) and Kellogg programs (class 38 just completed last week) & planning for the 2019 courses starting in mid-January and supporting the Nuffield Triennial work being done by Michael Taylor and his group.  As we move forward it will be important that we match our desire for impact with resourcing and this in-between time can be difficult to traverse. 

Obituary for John Clarke

John Clarke was awarded a Nuffield Scholarship in 1963.

One of New Zealand’s great leaders in the N. Z. agricultural business, in particular the New Zealand wool industry, John Clarke passed away on 12 May 2018 in Dunedin.

John was involved in the sheep, beef, dairy, cropping and pig farming industries.  He was a member of the Producer Board’s Electoral Committee;  became Chairman of the New Zealand Wool Board between 1072-1980;   served as a Director of the Otago Dairy Co-Operative;   the Kiwi Dairy Co-Operative;   a Director of The National Bank;  and served as a Governor on the Board of Columba College, Dunedin.

His involvement in his local community as a leader both nationally and internationally within the wool industry John was formally recognised for these services.  In 1981, he was honoured with the CMG (Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George) and  received the NZ 1990 Medal for services to his community.

Anyone wishing to make contact with John’s wife, Margaret, and his family can do so by sending a message to 113 Quatermain Rd, Clinton South Otago 9584.

Peter Jensen Raises a Challenge to Alumni

Peter Jensen encouraged alumni to pay it back at the 2019 Nuffield NZ AGM announcing that he and his wife Anne were donating $40k, the equivalent of one scholarship, to the Nuffield Capital Fund.  

He challenged every scholar for whom the scholarship had been a life changing event, either in their business or personal life, or both to donate over their lifetime the equivalent of a current scholarship ($40k) in recognition of the opportunities that it provided each person in their business and personal life.  

I am showing that I believe that in donating back the equivalent of a scholarship I can ensure this amazing opportunity continues well into the future and Nuffield NZ is in a strong position to continue to spearhead rural leadership development into the future” says Peter. 

He follows another generous contribution of $10k by Derek Daniels earlier and contributions some years ago by other alumni and events. 

The fund is currently sitting at just over $810k so our target is not unrealistic! 

To download a donation form click here or if you need to discuss options please contact GM Anne Hindson on 027 431 7575 or annehindson@ruralleaders.co.nz 

Background  

The Nuffield Capital Fund was set up a number of years ago to build a fund of $1million to ensure that the Nuffield legacy would continue in times of ‘shocks and challenges’ such as the loss of a major sponsor or a rural/country recession. The interest from this fund would support at least two scholarships each year and enable ongoing leadership development opportunities for alumni i.e. attendance at courses, development opportunities. 

The fund will ensure Nuffield continues to be the pinnacle of rural and agri food leadership development in New Zealand into the future.  

Obituary for Hugh Roberts

Hugh was a highly active member of the Nuffield Alumni and at the 2015 Nuffield Australia National Conference in Albury, was acknowledged for a 40-year reign as a Nuffield Scholar. 

Hugh was a well-known grains industry advocate, former agri-politician who had a long association with the NSW Farmers Association and other industry bodies. He was also a strong advocate for genetically modified (GM) crops.  

Until recently, Hugh and his wife Jenny lived at “Birralee”, a 485 hectare property which became widely known as the base of a successful registered seed business, specialising in triticale and legume varieties.
 

Hugh was awarded a Nuffield Scholarship in 1977 to study British agriculture, and the British seed industry in particular. You can read Hugh’s final report here.

He has represented the agricultural industry in many roles, including with NSW Farmers Association, Grains Council of Australia and Bio Technology Australia Advisory Council, Australian Seeds Authority and the Australian Crop Accreditation System.

General Manager Update: Anne Hindson August 2018

Andrew, in his chair update, focuses on Nuffield strategic initiatives and NZRLT board activities, while this update covers management activities of the NZRLT Trust (incorporating both Nuffield and Kellogg programmes) as well as Nuffield programme activities and reflections.

The launch of our new brandingin late June, has occupied a large amount of my time. Juliet Maclean led the project which began in January, through the brand development including the research, strategy, creative, story, and identity to get it to the brand kit and roll out stage.  Juliet’s commitment to making sure the Nuffield and Kellogg programmes are relevant for our future markets is invaluable in setting us up for the future.  

We started with the development of a new brand for our new organisation – the New Zealand Rural Leadership Trust (referred to as Rural Leaders) accompanied by a new fresh logo for the Kellogg programme and a refreshed modernised logo for the Nuffield Scholarships. If you missed our email with the story behind the branding, click here for a detailed explanation and video.

We created a single website which now hosts Rural Leaders and the two programmes, but have ensured that all Nuffield (and upcoming Kellogg) marketing drives people directly to the Nuffield page on the new site.  Over time, we hope to position Rural Leaders as the recognised organisation delivering both programmes with marketing going to just that site. 

The single website also provides one platform for our joint alumni to interact with both programmes and alumni activities. It is the first step in bringing our alumni groups together also under one umbrella organisation for thought leadership activities. The final step in this project is the transfer across of several hundred reports from both sites which will take some time. 

The new branding is now fully adopted in all communications; the response has been very positive from internal and external audiences.  

The appointment of Clara Sweetman as a part time marketing contractor in late June has already bought results with a raised social media profile and some fresh ideas. This is a resource which has been needed for a while but was delayed until the rebranding process had occurred. Clara joins us after contracting for Farmlands, before having her first child.  

Our 2019 Nuffield Scholarships close on 19 August and at the time of writing this newsletter we are waiting anxiously to see the calibre of applicants who apply. It is getting harder to market the Scholarships with the clutter of advertising and messaging, so the marketing strategies are continually being reviewed.  5 years ago, most of our marketing was focused on the rural print publications and alumni networks while now our vehicles are social media, testimonials and alumni shoulder tapping.  We are also trying to work more closely with each industry sector to get them identifying their emerging leaders and encouraging this as part of their pathway. 

While I appreciate that it has always been a big commitment and investment to undertake a scholarship, we are seeing and hearing some of the following challenges /barriers for the next generation of potential scholars;  

  • Young family commitments – many in the 30 – 40 age group are just starting families or have very young children 
  • Working partners – ability to cover family/business is reduced 
  • Diversity of investment often across several farm types or production systems so no natural breaks in workload  
  • More sole operators with no backup from family or others and no fulltime managers to take workload 
  • Greater opportunities to travel overseas, attend international forums  
  • Competing programmes and options to develop leadership skills  

While there is greater flexibility for doing the individual research travel there is still a requirement to be overseas at least 4 months in a 10-month period and complete the full scholarship in a year, which is tighter than other Nuffield countries with timelines of 18 – 24 months.  Of course, we do note to scholars that learning how to reorganise ‘life’ to take on new challenges is part of the benefits of undertaking a scholarship. 

As alumni numbers grow we also need to connect our recent scholars into the support network where alumni provide the opportunities and support their development post the scholarship. The Biennial Conference provided a great launchpad with this year’s 2016 and 2017 presenting scholars and it is pleasing that their topics are attracting industry interest with all of them having presented at conferences and industry forums before and after the Conference. 

Their 15min video presentations on the website and You Tube is proving to be a popular vehicle for those wanting to get an overview of their reports. If you haven’t checked them out, click here https://ruralleaders.co.nz/nuffield-presentations/ 

Planning for the 2020 Nuffield Triennial Conference is well under way with an organising committee meeting this week to sign off some key dates, branding, components. This will allow us to release the first marketing for the event to Nuffield alumni globally through country conferences, direct mail and using alumni contacts 

This is a very big commitment for the organisation in terms of resource, time and financial resources, and the full support of all alumni, which I am sure will be forthcoming.  

Upcoming Events 

  • Kellogg Course 38 delivery: June – November 
  • Kellogg Course 39 2019 Applications close:19 October  
  • Nuffield Selections: September/Oct 
  • 2019 Nuffield Awards: 6 November 

Chair Update: Andrew Watters August 2018

I hope you agree with me that the Tauranga Biennial Nuffield conference was a great event.  It had a nice mix of local content, thought leadership and catching up with old friends.  I thought our new scholars did a very good job of presenting their project findings and their views on the issues and opportunities facing New Zealand and global agriculture.  And for them, it is a perfect introduction to the Nuffield fold.  The mix of youthful enthusiasm and wise perspectives from our range of generations is a strength of our Nuffield body. 

Thank you’s have been extended to the local organising committee led by Dave Hurst; the conference was well organised and operated with a $15,000 surplus assisted by securing valuable local sponsorship – this surplus has been transferred into the Nuffield Capital Fund. 

At the AGM, James Parsons was elected to fill the vacancy left by Juliet Maclean and I was re-elected.  Following the meeting the board elected me as your new Chair.  Thanks to Lucy Griffiths and Steve Wilkins for also being prepared to put their names forward for election.   

I would like to acknowledge the service of Juliet Maclean with her contribution of six years as a trustee including the past two as chair.  Juliet was instrumental in setting up the original consortium between Lincoln University and Nuffield New Zealand which provided both a potential leadership pathway for people in agriculture but also enabled the organisation to take on professional management.  Her work culminated in forming the New Zealand Rural Leadership Trust (NZRLT) with full operational control of the Kellogg scholarship programme.  The outcome is to be appreciated but the behind-the-scenes work from Juliet along with our GM, Anne, was critical to the outcome.  Juliet also led our 2017 strategy review process which resulted in the rebranding of our programmes and the branding of the Trust, and the consideration of the Rural Thought Leadership and Advocacy Project.  Juliet has left Rural Leaders and the Nuffield program in exceptionally good heart and she has set a high mark for us all to perform to. 

The constitution of NZRLT requires four scholars elected by the Nuffield Alumni and two independents who are approved by our strategic partners.  Hamish Fraser has and continues to fill one of these roles, and we have had a vacancy that we are close to filling.  We have run a very successful recruitment process with 26 high quality applicants, quite astounding given this is a voluntary role.  At the time of writing we are completing referee checks on our preferred candidate.  A key element for us is seeking diversity in skills, experience and thought.  We look forward to announcing the appointment in coming days. 

Two related matters raised at the AGM was the fact that we have been holding AGMs only at our biennial conference (the constitution requires an AGM to be held annually), and that the Nuffield NZ financial reports are less meaningful now given all operations are under the Rural Leadership Trust.  The board have considered both these matters, we intend to hold an AGM via webinar in off-conference years and we will report the financial results of the NZRLT to the Nuffield alumni, noting that this is a separately constituted Trust and reporting structure. 

One general comment from past scholars and our strategic partners is the need to ensure that we get sufficient representation from grass-root scholars in our Nuffield programme.  This will be a continued work-on for the board including our processes for attracting applicants and how we assess applicants.  Although our agricultural economy is seeing the traditional within and outside farmgate boundaries blurring, we do need to get the balance right between selecting scholars who can shape the future of NZ agriculture and equipping our grass roots to work in a more complex world, including as farmer elected members on co-operative and industry boards. 

The thought leadership programme is progressing, albeit with small steps.  Work with other rural leaders and in particular our strategic partners suggests strong support for mobilising our Nuffield and Kellogg alumni to ensure that we win the debates on matters important to the future of rural communities.  We have decided to trial our first initiatives on a couple of regions to ensure that we learn ‘how’ we can be effective.  We expect to be in touch with scholars in those regions this spring. 

Michael Tayler and his team continue to work on the 2020 triennial conference which of course is a combination of our NZ biennial and the international triennial.  There is some consideration at Nuffield International that this may be the last triennial (perhaps replaced by annual travel opportunities flowing from the annual CSC conferences) although we need to see more debate on the proposed changes. It is important that our NZ alumni support this event in all ways and we will come back to you soon to help market the event with your cohorts. 

Finally, it is pleasing to report the on-going growth of the NZ Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust’s fund performance.  As at the end of June the fund’s balance was $811,000 with an 11.74% return in the last 12 months and a time weighted return of 12.83% since inception (May 2010).  The fund has been supported by donations from scholars and business partners, but the growth strategy implemented ably by Craigs Investment Partners has been a significant help.  You will read separately about Peter Jensen’s generous ‘giving back’ which has been an important contribution to the fund.   

I wish you the best for the spring ahead; we have rarely seen agricultural prices so firm (other than wool) right across our industry and although there may be trade headwinds ahead there is at least some NZD relief being bought to bear.   

Chair Update: Juliet Maclean, April 2018

Your Trustees have been active over the last five months with regular board meetings, a strategic planning session, scholar mentoring and the Nuffield International conference in the Netherlands.

I believe it is important to have a dual focus when considering priorities for the future.

Firstly, we must continue to attract sufficient funding to operate our organisation. By identifying, selecting and supporting high quality scholars who can add value to New Zealand rural communities, we can demonstrate our worth. This is our bread and butter. Currently we offer five scholarships each year.

In my last note to you, I explained that LIC had decided not to continue their financial support, leaving a gap in our funding. I’m delighted to inform you that the Mackenzie Charitable Foundation has come on board as a Strategic Partner for the next 3 years with right of renewal.

The Foundation was formed in 1976 when brothers Alan and Don Mackenzie made the decision to leave their estates to the community of Mid-Canterbury. Agriculture was amongst the matters of importance to the pair and their wishes included the support of agricultural research, development, education and training, and the science and practise of agriculture. With such well aligned objectives, I’m confident the Foundation’s investment in our organisation will provide a range of outcomes that would bring pride and satisfaction for Alan and Don. We look forward to working with the Mackenzie Charitable Foundation Trustees to achieve positive outcomes for all.

Secondly, it is equally important that that we structure and lead an organisation which is offering a unique, experiential learning opportunity which will equip future leaders to be relevant and effective. In an agri sector that is being confronted by massive and rapid change, we must be active to keep pace. Diversity of background and thinking, nimble decision making, an understanding of exponential technology, effective team building skills, a negotiator, the ability to influence and navigate change; these are a sample of the skills and characteristics that are important for Nuffielders to demonstrate if we are to maintain relevance and gain respect.

Historically, the key focus of scholar studies was improving farm systems productivity – how does New Zealand produce more food? Now the attention has moved to improved resource allocation with themes of sustainability, innovation and environmental protection. Producing high-quality food and fibre products which emphasise our story of excellence, provenance and safety continue to move the dial from quantity to quality. Production systems are still important but understanding the expectations of our customers and how we delight them with our products and the integrity of our supply chains has gained importance and attention. Study topics of the future are likely to focus on these themes.

Nuffield NZ, in conjunction with the NZ Rural Leadership Trust, has a process of continuous review for all aspects of the scholarship, from selection through to content. We currently have a renewed focus on opportunities for engaging and leveraging our Alumni. Trustees constantly consider the balance between maintaining Nuffield New Zealand’s traditions and heritage with the imperatives of change. We recognise that some transformation is required to ensure relevance and attract new generations of scholars. Doing what we’ve always done will not meet muster as we strive to maintain our position as the preeminent agricultural scholarship in New Zealand. The opportunities are exciting.

At the end of our 2016 Nuffield conference John Palmer asked the trustees to consider whether advocacy for the rural sector was adequate for the challenges we face and if not, whether the Nuffield Alumni could be mobilised in a new manner, to provide that needed advocacy.

The trustees have considered the matter and plan to present an expanded thought leadership and advocacy role for Nuffield, for ‘in principle’ consideration at the 2018 conference in Tauranga in May. We look forward to your feedback so please remember to register now and join us for some thought provoking presentations and discussion.

In keeping too with the theme of relevance, the future and ensuring our programmes are attractive to high quality applicants, we are currently undertaking a review of our brands and messaging. As a newly established organisation, it is important to clarify the role and position of the New Zealand Rural Leadership Trust. How our Nuffield NZ Farming Scholarships and Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme fit within the structure requires explanation and it is important to confirm and explain the unique attributes of both in a compelling and engaging manner. We look forward to sharing the outcomes of this project with you.

Planning for the 2020 triennial conference is well underway with Michael Taylor at the helm and several alumni committees taking the lead on programmes for the conference and the tours. With a Christchurch base, the tours will cover a sample of the best the South Island has on offer and will include topics of interest to all.

2020 is a long time to wait for a Nuffield get together so it’s fabulous that Dave Hurst and his team have a plan for us to reunite in May. You still have time to register, to join recent scholars and old friends for ‘learning, listening and laughter’! I look forward to seeing you there.

Kind regards

Juliet