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Integrating pasture raised egg production into an existing farming business: A business plan.

Executive Summary

With increased protein demand from the agriculture sector, ever increasing compliance costs and high land prices, adding more operational layers and diversity to an existing system is an option to some businesses.

This business plan focuses on integrating pasture raised egg production into an organic dairy farm but has relevance to any farming system.

The worldwide demand for eggs is increasing with most consumers in the EU already preferring to purchase free range eggs. Caged eggs are being phased out of New Zealand supermarkets by December 2022. The industry is expecting supply deficits due to the change in practice.

The initial idea was to have the birds following a dairy herd in a New Zealand grass based rotational system, but after talking with some of the interviewees this would have risks with smothering and animals becoming lost from the flock. The research shows better results could be gained through fertility transfer by focusing on poorer paddocks.

The low initial set up cost and payback modelled over 2.25 years makes it an attractive investment to be part of.

The pasture-based model has high social licence to operate characteristics which is being demanded more by consumers and the sector is expected to continue the growth its currently experiencing.

 

Integrating pasture raised egg production into an existing farming business: A business plan.

 

Using ‘Meat for Kids’ as a vehicle to enhancing children’s knowledge about agriculture.

Executive Summary

Currently one fifth of New Zealand households don’t have enough food for active and growing children to support physical and mental development. Disadvantages such as these aren’t isolated to other parts of the world, this is happening on our door step.

It’s common knowledge that children need to have their nutritional needs met to have greater success in the classroom. Many industries have entered into the fray to address this issue yet Kids Can still endures a huge waiting list of schools, in the desperate 1 to 4 decile range, searching for external funding for solutions to this problem. 

First Light Foods NZ are in the early stages of trialling a ‘Meat for Kids’ project starting in Hawkes Bay, to provide a low cost-industry good, balanced and nutritious meat-based meal twice a week to children in this situation. Although initially small the intent of the programme is to cover the length of the country to meet the 22% of children that go hungry at least once a week, at the coal face with a warm meat-based meal, that is externally approved by health organisations.  

The ‘Meat for Kids’ programme has an excellent opportunity to open the door and educate the industries next consumer and also potential workforce. The literature has convincingly shown that children aged 6-9 are most receptive to influence than at any other time of our life. Therefore, in using the ‘Meat for Kids’ initiative as a vehicle to go direct to the children an obvious platform presents itself for the food industry to make a meaningful impression on their life. 

As an industry we spend a lot of resourcing promoting the industry throughout secondary schools, which the research has shown is not the most effective age group we should be targeting. Looking through the current organisations that are driving resources from our industry into schools, we can see a trend of barriers, primarily in teachers, with their ever-growing workload, it poses the question – how can we avoid this barrier and go direct to the children?

Through a research survey conducted with teachers throughout NZ seven key areas were identified to successfully capture and maintain a child’s attention. From these points of engagement as outlined in the findings of the report, the recommendation of a set of competition cards was born. 

The utopia of these findings will be a greater NZ where all children have access to a nutritious diet, that allow everyone an equal opportunity to learn and develop without circumstantial disadvantages. And also, where the whole of society has an understanding of where their food comes from and that they are active positive contributors to that value system to promote its prosperity.

Using ‘Meat for Kids’ as a vehicle to enhancing children’s knowledge about agriculture.

 

Old dogs, new tricks: An exploration of age and its influence on health and safety in New Zealand’s primary sector.

Executive Summary

Being a great food producing nation comes at the price of almost 20 lives per year in New Zealand. Agriculture records the highest number of deaths of all industries and improving these statistics has proved a challenge for successive regulatory bodies, industry groups and farmers themselves.

Almost a quarter of these deaths are those aged in their 60s and when combined with the number of workers over the age of 70 the group makes up almost half of all fatalities on-farm.  It raises the question of what influence one’s age has on health and safety behaviours and outcomes?

This report endeavours to uncover at what age people are being fatally injured, how they are being fatally injured and if attitude towards health and safety is varied across age groups. This report considers the 154 deaths on New Zealand farms between 2011 and 2018, and the views of five WorkSafe inspectors and 76 farmers aged between 19 and 73. It also takes a look at past research and reporting on health and safety progress and prohibition in New Zealand.

The research uncovers a challenge to all in the rural health and safety system; that when farmers are at their most experienced and perceived to be most adept at assessing risk they are also being fatally injured in the highest numbers. And while experience reigns high at this age, so do a decrease in cognitive ability, physical limitations, overestimation of ability and a decrease in responsibility as farmer’s face mortality.

Leadership, education and a sense of responsibility should be encouraged from a young age in order to create sustained generational change. And by looking at the gaps in knowledge and approach; and focussing on motivating factors in certain age groups we can improve health and safety behaviour and outcomes on New Zealand farms.

As an industry, we now need to engage with those in their early career years to create sustained generational change, utilise the theme of responsibility in working to engage all farmers in health and safety and alert industry to the four factors this research considers contributing factors in older farmer fatalities.

Old dogs, new tricks: An exploration of age and its influence on health and safety in New Zealand’s primary sector.

 

Grower’s role in promoting the value of New Zealand Kiwifruit: Mechanisms which encourage the use of good practice to create a positive identity for social license to operate.

Executive Summary

New Zealand’s kiwifruit industry which sells a high-value product may have the opportunity to utilise improved social capital to strengthen its leading position. This report analyses the kiwifruit industry’s position in gaining social licence to operate and argues for communication mechanisms which will create socioemotional value and thus social capital amongst stakeholders to form SLO with the aim to ultimately create value and sustainable longevity of the kiwifruit industry for New Zealand’s kiwifruit growers.

Trust, a decrease of social distance between growers and their stakeholders, and a strong understanding of grower drivers are critical communication mechanisms to encourage best practice by New Zealand’s kiwifruit growers. Financial and non-financial incentives to encourage good practice are also analysed.

 

Grower’s role in promoting the value of New Zealand Kiwifruit: Mechanisms which encourage the use of good practice to create a positive identity for social license to operate.

 

Understanding what drives youth perspective to make radical change in agriculture.

Executive Summary

The agriculture sector is one that is talked about and analysed from every angle by people all around the world every single day. Successful agriculture is essential to survival as people have to eat. 

As the world population is constantly increasing, so is the need to produce more food/fibre. Yet every day the agriculture sector is struck with the issue that we cannot gain enough attraction for passionate people to enter the sector; consequently nationally and internationally there is a cry for help from agricultural businesses trying to find and retain staff.

Agriculture in New Zealand is constantly in the limelight for questions being raised around impacts on the environment, on animal health and wellbeing. Due to this it is no wonder there is a struggle to attract good young people to the industry. 

There is also little government support to the industry, particularly to ensure the younger generations understand what agriculture is really about, let alone a clear pathway into the sector as agriculture is not a big part of the education curriculum. 

Through looking into past literature, statistics, and interviews we can clearly identify the current situation of agriculture and the direction it is heading in the future.

Key recommendations as a result of this research are;

  • Continue to share positive agricultural stories, by various methods such as media.
  • Target educating youth about agriculture as early as primary school through introducing an independent teaching platform as part of the primary school curriculum.
  • Teach children where their food comes from using backwards engineering; from plate to farm. This would need to be backed by company’s such as Talent Central and farming industry bodies to provide the information.
  • Build a clear pathway to support people with agricultural passion right from young children, through primary school, secondary school and beyond their tertiary education. We would do this by recognising those children with an agricultural interest and nurturing this. This would be implemented through introduced education programs and offering support to teachers, career advisors and parents. This could be done but those bodies collectively involved in primary, secondary and tertiary education.
  • Utilise technology and use it as a platform to educate the urban population. Selectively place interactive technology where people can read, listen and learn about agriculture in New Zealand.

Acknowledging there are already movements in place to change the common negative perspectives towards agriculture, creating a solution is a difficult task. Targeting children earlier is currently an area which will require further work. By helping children understand where their food comes from and establishing a ‘Just Cause’ around feeding the world, children are more likely grow up with a passionate agricultural mind set. 

 

Understanding what drives youth perspective to make radical change in agriculture.

 

How can rural professionals be more effective in this time of transformational change.

Executive Summary

Farmers are faced with many challenges. The external pressures of public perception, regulation and compliance have become stronger in recent years, and concerningly are likely to get more so. A farm is not just a business, it is a way of life for many people and supports many families.

Rural professionals help farmers achieve their aspirations and provide guidance on the operational boundaries of the farming business. Operational boundaries however shift under the influence of external pressures. Rural professionals have a role during this time of change and uncertainty to help farmers establish the best possible position on their farm, and within their community.

This project investigated the opportunities for rural professionals to be more effective to help farmers under pressure. Research was completed through a literature review and completion of twelve interviews. Those interviewed were from three representative groups – farmers, rural professionals, and extension programme managers. Research identified considerations for the rural professional as an individual and identified considerations for rural professional organisations. To be effective both the individual and the organisation must play their part. Common themes from the research were:

Rural professional individual:

  • Drivers of decision making must be understood
  • The first point of contact is critical
  • Technical competency remains important
  • Trust must be earned, and empathy demonstrated

Rural professional organisation:

  • Empower learning through coaching
  • Finding the right metrics to measure and report is critical
  • Value the time it takes to build enduring relationships
  • Technology is a double-edged sword
  • Avoid “one stop” and “cold calling” programmes
  • There is a need to increase capacity, and will be achieved with the right industry culture

 

Extension theory to achieve change remains sound, having identified the importance of relationships and influencing from a position of trust. Change is often a journey and multiple stages within a change process need to be captured and reported for one to gain a true appreciation of the extent of change occurring in the primary sector.

 

Having evaluated the research, the following recommendations have been made:

Rural professional individual – the “change enabler”:

  1. Follow the VALUE approach for first meetings
  2. Build your networks and understand everyone has a network you can influence
  3. Ensure your logic is grounded
  4. Develop your coaching skills to empower farmers to seek knowledge

 Rural professional organisation – the “change empowerer”:

  1. Follow the coach approach
  2. Continue with the sound extension model
  3. Take data seriously
  4. Develop aspirational programmes
  5. Operate at a community level with a global focus

 

Rural professionals are able to help farmers to meet the many challenges currently facing the primary sector. This will be achieved through enabling activity with programmes which empower farmers to lead their own change. Technical competency of rural professionals will remain valued by farmers, but their ability to elevate a farmers own thinking will be the difference between being constantly challenged or continually empowered. There are always areas of improvement, but what remains core to any role is the importance of maintaining enduring relationships built on trust and respect.

 

I hope this report will provide rural professionals and the organisations they work for comfort in the fundamental principles of being an effective change agent. Farmers currently face significant pressure. Rural professionals have a role to help farmers maintain a future focus. This role will be more effective when the recommendations of this report are embedded into everyday practice.

 

 

How can rural professionals be more effective in this time of transformational change.

 

Boardroom to break-fence: pursuing a rural professional career while concurrently having a farming business interest.

Executive Summary

The New Zealand primary industry is facing significant change, in particular, pressures around environment, finance, biosecurity and changes to consumer behaviour. The leadership and skills of our rural professionals will be a key component to the success of our primary industry in this changing and challenging environment.

 

For agribusiness organisations to remain relevant and equipped to navigate the changes within the primary industry, it will be crucial for them to have the right people with the right skill sets. For many years rural professionals in New Zealand have been successfully providing a valuable service to the primary industry, however with the fast pace of change there is a need to have rural professionals who have a deeper connection to farming.

 

The model of having a rural professional career alongside a farming career is a potential solution to ensuring agribusiness organisations and the primary industry has the necessary skills and leadership in its people. This model helps to generate relevant rural professionals who have a depth of connection to farming that allows them to empathise with the challenges that producers and the wider industry face as they understand the what it takes to run a farming business. If agribusiness organisations and rural professionals lose this depth of connection to farming, we have a risk of becoming irrelevant.

 

Both the primary industry and agribusiness organisations need to develop their thinking on how we progress the model of having rural professionals pursuing an agribusiness career alongside a farming career, and similarly we need to encourage rural professionals to think about the opportunities and challenges this could create. From my research into the topic, it was clear that whilst there was no shortage of opinion, there was a lack of formal strategy around how this model could or should be working among agribusiness organisations, rural professionals and industry leaders.

 

This report addresses the question of ‘what would it take to pursue a rural professional career concurrently with a career in farming?’ It takes on the perspectives of a rural professional and agribusiness organisation. The research sets out to answer this question through a better understanding of the following key area’s;

 

  • Understanding rural professionals and what drives them
  • Understanding the need for a ‘balanced’ approach to this model
  • Understanding potential employment and farming structures
  • Understanding of the financial viability of the model
  • Understanding of the people capability and leadership benefits of the model

 

My aim for this report is that it will be used by rural professionals, agribusiness organisations and the primary industry to inspire further discussion and development on the topic for the purpose of looking at new ways to create opportunities for the benefit of all stakeholders.

 

The methodology used for this research report included an exploratory literature review followed by a qualitative approach using semi-structured interviews of key stakeholders.

 

The outcome of the research is made up of five key themes; values; balance; structures; financial viability; people capability and leadership. There are a large number of variables within such a model which at their heart are quite detailed and complex, some of which are discussed within the report, but many of which are unique to the individual situation and require more in-depth analysis.

From this research, my recommendations include:

  • Rural professionals and agribusiness organisations should take the time to understand their personal values, family values and organisational values. This will help them gain a deeper understanding about what really matters to them. They should communicate these and create some alignment between one another, ensuring they ‘tap’ into these on a regular basis.
  • Rural professionals should put in place well considered, realistic and measurable goals in all key areas to ensure they keep an overall balanced approach.
  • Rural professionals and agribusiness organisations should share stories and real-life examples of where this model has been implemented in the past or current including success and failures.
  • Rural professionals and agribusiness organisations should practice open and honest communication on a regular basis to ensure all stakeholders are clear on their responsibilities in the relationship.
  • Farm business structures and farm systems should be chosen carefully. The decision-making process should involve family a number of third parties including a bank manager, other farmers, farm consultants etc. Financial viability, family and workload management should be key considerations.
  • Agribusiness organisations should take the time to understand the issues that could arise if the depth of farming connection within its rural processionals is lost slowly over coming years
  • Agribusiness organisations should take next steps to develop a formal strategy to support the model. This should be a balanced approach involving all stakeholders in the organisation and management should be able to discuss the strategy with confidence.

 

As the primary industry faces a changing future, there is a need to build people capability and relevant industry leadership. This model offers a unique opportunity for innovative personal and professional development, relevant skill sets and wealth creation. Rural professionals, agribusiness organisations, and other key stakeholders have a responsibility in ensuring the primary industry can thrive in a changing and challenging environment and help future generations prosper.

 

Boardroom to break-fence: pursuing a rural professional career while concurrently having a farming business interest.

 

Improving our on-farm Health and Safety Culture in Rural New Zealand.

Executive Summary

New Zealand as a country has a proud farming history with our farming culture having been built on a can do, ‘she’ll be right’ mindset. However, this same culture is killing our people. On a per capita basis New Zealand has some of the highest statistics in workplace fatalities with agriculture being the worst performing sector. This paper seeks to define culture in the health and safety context, and to understand where our current cultural level is on-farm in Rural New Zealand. It also seeks to understand where we should prioritise to improve this culture.

A review of the literature was completed, along with discussions with many of the key authors to develop a deeper understanding of their research. Additional research was also undertaken in the form of a survey completed by twenty New Zealand Young Farmers member’s nationwide.

This paper explores the definition of culture including work from Edgar Schein, George Stevenson and Jess Berentson-Shaw. This paper establishes that culture involves multiple people, is based on assumptions to solve problems, and is learned and shared. Through the literature review this paper found our culture is risk tolerant and as a nation we have negative perceptions towards health and safety largely because of the associated compliance. This was validated through this paper’s survey. However, it was found that compliance can have a positive impact on change. Recent work completed by Francois Barton and Gareth Chaplin suggest that culturally there are positive signals coming from the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. This was again validated in the survey as well as the fact that survey participants felt we are making progress. Al McCone suggested that health and safety was legislated because it’s important, and it’s not important just because it’s legislated.  

The following recommendations are made, based on the findings within the report: 

  • Change our ‘she’ll be right’ mentality to one of ‘do it right’
  • Provide education to individuals on farm to drive ownership and accountability within the health and safety space.
  • Promote the positive health and safety messages within the industry.
  • Offer appropriate incentives to help drive a positive culture change.

Improving our on-farm Health and Safety Culture in Rural New Zealand.

Key factors in developing a culture of high performance within a senior management team in large scale dairy organisations.

Executive Summary

The research in this report was based on four organisations with a structured interview designed to identify the key features of the culture of each organisation. The organisations were chosen as they represented different forms of ownership, state ownership, investment company, family owned business and corporate farming enterprise.

The key findings from the interviews were as follows

  • All organisations had a vision, strategy and values statements which is critical in defining the Why, What and How of the organisation.
  • Senior management team were structured in a way that each member had a distinct role in the business and responsibility. The goal was not to overload the operational team but to allow them to focus on coaching and mentoring the team.
  • A critical component of the senior team is their ability to use coaching and mentoring to build a relationship with their team and give and receive feedback from staff. It is important that the team members are engaged in the process and have clear exceptions and take ownership, responsibility and accountability for their roles. These are key components of above the line thinking and building a strong team culture.
  • Models such as Empowerment Model, Coach Approach, Clifton Strength Finder, Tuckman’s Model, Jim Collins Good to Great Model were used for coaching and feedback.
  • Excellence was recognised by all organisations with a focus on recognition and celebrating success.
  • Poor performance involved feedback focused on expectations and values of the organisation. The Performance Matrix is a tool which can be used in feedback process.
  • When building a team culture, relationships, trust, values are important and that individuals are accountable for their behaviour and aligned to organisational values.

 

Developing a culture of high performing management team is a deliberate process that requires a focus on continuous improvement and building strong team values.

 

Key factors in developing a culture of high performance within a senior management team in large scale dairy organisations.

 

Woodflows of the eastern southern North Island: 2019-2028

Executive Summary

The catch phrase “Wall of Wood” is approaching reality with the substantial increase of afforestation in the mid-1990s coming to maturity and ready for harvest in the coming years. The Eastern Southern North Island (ESNI) was no exception in this new afforestation with the reported area of plantation forestry more than tripling from 20,500ha in 1993 to 66,500ha by 2003.

This report sets out to determine what the status is of the current forestry and woodproducts infrastructure of the ESNI. Then to ascertain whether this capacity is sufficient to meet the growing needs of the future radiata pine resource. 

A survey was compiled to obtain the harvesting capacity of the forestry companies within the ESNI region. They were asked to provide their current daily harvesting capacity and forecast their harvest volumes over the next 10-year period. 

The domestic mills and log cartage companies were also questioned regarding their capacities. 

The yield volume was calculated using the 2018 National Exotic Forest Description (NEFD) for the area of radiata pine plantations and overlaid with the MPI yield tables from 2015 for the ESNI. The minimum target age for harvest was set at 28.  A total yield volume was calculated for all radiata pine plantations that reach the age of 28 within the period of 2019-2028. The area of plantations that made up the yield volume was evenly spread over the 10 year period to make a non-declining yield based on the fixed average annual area of harvest. 

The forestry companies harvesting capacity sits at 1.97 million m3 and is forecast to increase to 2.25 million m3 in the next 3 years. The analysis concluded that these forecast volumes are the more accurate figures to use in forecasting the woodflow for the region. Though these volumes are less than the calculated yield the forestry companies can be confident that there is enough volume to meet their planned harvesting capacity. The forecast volumes can now be used by the log cartage companies and export traders to help forecast their capacity requirements.

The analysis concluded that there are insufficient markets for domestic pulp that give a positive return. The industry has to make the decision whether to remove this pulp from harvesting sites at a cost or find an alternative market for this product.

Further analysis is required to determine the absolute limit of the annual capacity at the Napier and Wellington ports. Both ports have noted record annual throughput of logs but how much further can they go?

The analysis has shown that there are potential errors in the total area documented in the NEFD. This is predominately around the modelling and recording of the small scale forest areas. Remote sensing has had proof of concept confirmed in identifying small scale forests. As technology improves this should be a vital tool to use for the NEFD data collection.

Woodflows of the eastern southern North Island: 2019-2028