Rural Leaders New Zealand

The Rural Leader

Your latest issue.

Welcome to the first Rural Leader for 2024.

Half the Rural Leaders Team went to Southern Field Days in Waimumu a couple of weeks ago. It was fantastic to see so many programme alumni there and plenty of people interested completing a Nuffield Scholarship, Kellogg, Value Chain and Engage Programmes too. 

A big thank you to our Programme Partners Farmlands Cooperative for the generous share of their event tent site with us.

We’re heading to Northland Field Days in Dargaville this week and the Wanaka A&P Show 8 and 9 March, where our Programme Partners Rabobank are kindly sharing some of their site space. If you’re at either show – come and say hi. In this issue we share Rural Leaders other key engagement dates for programmes and events.

There are just 24 hours left to apply for the Associate Trustee role on the New Zealand Rural Leadership Trust Board. You’ll be in experienced governance hands – so, if you want to learn and grow in governance, and you are Rural Leaders programme alum, why not apply?

In this issue’s Ideas that Grow Podcast, Dr Matt Sowcik, an Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural Communication and Education at the University of Florida talks with Bryan Gibson.

Currently on sabbatical, Matt joined the cohort on the Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme where he shared his research on humility in leadership with Scholars.

There are about five weeks to apply for 2024’s Kellogg Programme Two. We share our updated brochure and the Programme’s key dates.  

While we shared the 2023’s Kellogg Programme Two (K50) research reports in the last issue, we’re doing it again. These excellent reports cover such topics as: Surviving sheep drench resistance, and the Economics of emissions reduction in the kiwifruit supply chain, to name a few.

In Alumni in the Spotlight we share news from Nuffield Scholars Phil Weir, James Parsons, Kylie Leonard, Donna Cram, Vanessa Thomson and Carlos Bagrie.

We review the reviews so far in Dr Patrick Aldwell’s Rural Reader series. We’re sure, that amongst these nine books, there’s one that is exactly what you are looking for. 

We hope you enjoy this issue of the Rural Leader.

The Team at Rural Leaders.

Ideas that grow podcast.

Dr Matt Sowcik – Humility and finding a common purpose.

Dr Matt Sowcik is currently on sabbatical from his role as Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural Education and Leadership at University of Florida.

As part of his tour, he joined the Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme in Lincoln. He spoke to Scholars (and Bryan Gibson) about the power of humility in leadership and its role in working together for a common cause.

Click here to listen to the podcast or read the transcript.

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Rural Leaders Associate Trustee role - last day to apply.

The New Zealand Rural Leadership Trust. From top left: Kate Scott (Chair), Hamish Fraser (Independent Trustee), Rebecca Hyde (Trustee), Steve Wilkins (Trustee), Murray King (Trustee), Olivia Weatherburn (Associate Trustee). 

Build your governance experience with this rare role.

The Board of Trustees for the New Zealand Rural Leadership Trust, responsible for governing the Nuffield Scholarships, Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme and the Value Chain Innovation Programme, wish to appoint an Associate Trustee.

This governance development opportunity is open to Nuffield, Kellogg and Value Chain Alumni.

The opportunity to apply closes at midnight tomorrow (28 February).

Learn more about the role and how to apply here.


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Rural Leaders key dates for 2024.

Here’s a quick rundown of the programmes and event key dates we have coming up in 2024. 


Southern Field Days, Waimumu, 11 – 13 February
Northland Field Days, Dargaville, 29 February – 2 March
Wanaka A&P Show, 8 – 9 March


Kellogg Programme One (K51), 2024

Phase 1 – January 23 – February 3, Lincoln
Phase 2 – April 8 -12 Wellington Networking event on Wednesday 10th
Phase 3 – July 8 -12 Lincoln  

Kellogg Programme Two (K52), 2024

Phase 1 – June 18 – 26 Lincoln
Phase 2 – September 9 – 13 Wellington Networking event on Wednesday 11th
Phase 3 – November 25 – 29 Lincoln
Apply today. Applications close 14 April.


Programme One (Pilot), 1 – 3 May.


Nuffield Biennial, New Plymouth, 23 – 26 May
Nuffield Awards, Wellington, 5 November
Kellogg Networking Event, Wellington, 11 September


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Kellogg Programme Two applications close 14 April.

With applications for Kellogg Programme Two closing in just over five weeks there is still plenty of time to make arrangements at work, on the farm and with family, to participate on the Programme. Programme Two’s timings below.

Organised into three short phases to fit in around work and family commitments, Kellogg represents one of the Sector’s most highly regarded and practical ways to advance your leadership development and your career. 

Take a look at the 2024 Kellogg Brochure, register your interest, or apply below.

Programme Two, Lincoln: 11 June – 29 November 2024

Phase One (Lincoln):
Tuesday 11 June – Wednesday 19 June 2024.
Phase Two (Wellington):
Monday 9 September – Friday 13 September 2024.
Phase Three (Lincoln):
Monday 25 November – Friday 29 November 2024.

Applications close Sunday 14 April, 2024.

Apply for 2024’s Programme Two now.

Got a spare 6 minutes? Take a look at our Kellogg Brochure here.

Take another look at our 50th Kellogg Programme's Research Reports.

Our 50th Kellogg Programme cohort have their research reports live on the Rural Leaders’ site.

Reports cover topics such as: Potential for New Zealand’s dairy expansion in Nigeria, Surviving sheep drench resistance, and the Economics of emissions reduction in the kiwifruit supply chain, to name a few.

You can read the reports here. 

Alumni in the Spotlight: James Parsons, Kylie Leonard, Phillip Weir, Vanessa Thomson, Donna Cram, Carlos Bagrie.


Phillip Weir, 2020 Nuffield Scholar.

Phillip has recently gained a coveted Associate Trustee position with AGMARDT. He is also seeking election on Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Board for the Northern North Island region. Find out how to support Phillip’s potential appointment below.

James Parsons, 2008 Nuffield Scholar.

You may have seen James on a well produced ad for Halter on YouTube Pre-roll or Vimeo over the last month. We share the ad and a Farmers Weekly article on the technology that might be “…a game changer for hill-country farming.”

Vanessa Thomson, 2023 Kellogg Scholar and Donna Cram, 2023 Value Chain Innovation Programme.

Vanessa Thomson and Donna Cram share their experiences after winning their Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year awards last year.

Vanessa won a scholarship to participate on the Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme (graduating with K49 last year) and Donna took the 2023 Dairy Woman of the Year Award and chose to complete the Value Chain Innovation Programme as part of the prize package.

Kylie Leonard, 2023 Nuffield Scholar.

Kylie was interviewed by the Pathways to Dairy Net Zero (P2DNZ) initiative, who are providing insights and solutions to help Kylie overcome any farm challenges around emissions. We share the article below.

Carlos Bagrie, 2024 Nuffield Scholar.

Carlos’s innovative and unique approach to farming, the transformation of waste into a viable resource, as well as a few impressive side projects, were the subjects of a not-so-recent interview with REX host Dominic in late December. Click below.

Head here to read and listen to the above Alumni in the Spotlight.

(opens in a new tab) Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Board, Northern North Island region.

The Rural Reader: a virtual bookshelf of curated go-to reads. Reviews by Dr Patrick Aldwell.

Dr Patrick Aldwell will be back with a new book review in the next issue. In the meantime, here’s a resource of the nine books he has reviewed so far. Let this be your go-to shelf of sure bets when it comes to good reads.

Take a read of Patrick’s review here.

News from our Partners.

Further rate hikes unlikely, cuts tipped for second half of 2024

Take a read of this useful resource/summary of Rabobank’s view on interest rate movement and the labour market for 2024. 

Rabobank Senior Market Strategist Ben Picton covers it all in this piece from the bank.



Pasture-based partnerships to grow knowledge of methane emissions

A New Zealand/Ireland joint research programme starting this month aims to better understand methane emissions from pasture-based farm systems. Take a read of DairyNZ’s article here.

Industry news.

Farmstrong - Toolbox tips

How does giving back to the community help Waikato dairy farmer Marc Gascoigne?

Check out this video from Farmstrong in which Marc talks about the benefits of giving back to the community, which include getting off the farm and connecting with friends.


Checking in - AWDT

One year after Cyclone Gabrielle caused widespread damage, the rebuild, cleanup and need for support across communities remains ongoing.

While many of these events have happened – there are still a few opportunities for farmers, growers and their families to have time off, relax, laugh, build resilience and make connections with others. 

Leadership opportunities.

24 hours to go until applications close for this Associate Trustee role…with us. 

Read more here.

Our programmes work in partnership with some of New Zealand’s leading agribusiness organisations – click here for more.​