Meet the 2023 Nuffield New Zealand Farming Scholars.

Kerry Worsnop

Kerry Worsnop describes herself as a rural advocate, born and raised on a South Waikato dairy farm, she later ventured into the hills of the East Coast north of Gisborne.

The business was originally shaped by both her partner’s and her own desire to own a farm and their early years were devoted to this pursuit, operating a contracting business and leasing land before purchasing Taheke, 36 km west of Gisborne in 2013.

Inspired by extramural study, the next few years incorporated various roles in the community and employment, building a toolkit based on resource management skills and a passion for interface between policy and the ‘real world’.

This interest led to a three-year term as a Gisborne District Councillor, a role where the issues facing that interface became impossible to ignore. “I want to help solve some of these problems” Kerry says, “A lot of our policy outcomes aren’t great – we must be able to do this better!”

Matt Iremonger, alongside his wife Katy and daughters Alice and Abby, operate diverse pastoral farms on Banks Peninsula and in the Ellesmere district in Canterbury.

These properties include hill country sheep and beef breeding, intensive irrigated finishing and dairy support, along with dairy farms and native and exotic forestry.

Matt studied at Lincoln University graduating with a BCom (Hons) and completed the Rabobank Executive Development Program in 2017.

“I am planning to undertake research into the integration of beef production from the dairy industry to create a high value premium product”, Said Matt.

Matt Iremonger

James Allen

James Allen is CEO of AgFirst, New Zealand’s largest provider of primary sector consultancy services. A key focus of his consultancy work is business planning, farm systems design, environmental management, and agribusiness project work, both nationally and internationally.

James is also the president of the New Zealand Fieldays Society, a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Primary Industry Management, and a previous national president of New Zealand Young Farmers. He was a grand finalist in the Young Farmer of the Year Contest in 1999 and again in 2002.

Originally from a sheep and beef farm near Raetihi, James and his wife Kerry now live at Matangi, along with their three sons. Alongside the consultancy business James and Kerry are partners in a variety of farming and non-farming businesses. In his free time James enjoys diving, tramping, skiing and cycling.

“Participating in the Nuffield Programme has been a long-term goal and I’m looking forward to the challenge. My research topic will be focused on re-defining what excellence looks like for the agricultural consultancy sector in the midst of change,  to help keep New Zealand farmers at the leading edge of profitability and sustainability,” Said James.

Kylie Leonard was elected to the Fonterra Cooperative Council in 2020 and serves on the Cooperative culture committee.  She is also on the Taupo District Council, representing the East Rural Ward, a Director of Vetora and is a Trustee of Hillary Outdoors.

Kylie is Chair of the Lake Taupo Protection Joint Committee and the Taupo East Rural Community group. She is also on the Board of Trustees at the school her daughter attends. Kylie is proudly married to Rick and has 3 daughters, Kate, Isla and Eloise.

Previously Kylie received a local hero medal, awarded Dairy Woman Community Leader of the Year and finalist in Dairy Woman of the Year, finalist in the Woman of Influence awards and Emerging Governance leader.

Kylie developed an investment property portfolio which lead to an equity partnership in a mixed farming operation involving both Dairy and beef in the Central Plateau.

“I am passionate about quality food production, our farm, my community and especially my family. I am curious to look behind the farm gate into environmental health, social equity and economic performance to meet the challenges of the future. I don’t know what I don’t know and am very excited about this opportunity,” Said Kylie.

Kylie Leonard

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