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Rural consultants aim to lift NZ farming productivity

13 September 2013

Rural consultants aim to lift New Zealand farming productivity

New Zealand’s top rural consultants and agri-business professionals will tackle the big issue of how the industry can do more to help New Zealand’s pastoral farmers lift productivity, when they come together in November for the Farmax Consultants’ Conference in Rotorua and Christchurch.

Farmax general manager Gavin McEwen said the conference theme, ‘How do we help shift the bell curve?,’ aims to address ways consultants can help pastoral farmers operate within the top 25 percent of all farmers.

“A Ministry for Primary Industries economic analysis has found that lifting the average performance of pastoral farmers to the top 25 percent of farmers would increase exports by $3 billion annually, and this is just using existing knowledge.

“Everyone working in the industry - including farmers themselves, consultants, Government, industry bodies and service providers - have a role to play in encouraging other to improve their businesses. Because when farmers improve their productivity and profitability, we will all win,” said Mr McEwen.

Rural banker turned motivational coach and presenter, David Todd of Toddy Talks, is one of the speakers who intends to get consultants fired up about the importance of their roles in collectively moving the country forward.

David grew up on his family’s sheep and beef farm in Waipukurau before moving to the city, where he held roles such as head of coaching and development for ASB, looking after the rural and commercial division.

Todd’s presentation will focus on the talent of the people serving rural New Zealand.

“When you think about the knowledge consultants have in understanding soil moisture deficits, pasture growth rates, weather conditions, exchange rates, foreign currency, Government policy, animal husbandry and all the practicalities of farming – that’s a heck of a lot of expertise for any one person to have. So take a look at yourself, consultants, because you are pretty great,” said Mr Todd.

Lincoln University’s senior lecturer in agribusiness management, Nic Lees, will pose the question about whether the consultant’s competitive advantage lies in farm efficiency or customer value. And AgResearch chief executive Dr Tom Richardson will give his insights into the challenges facing the industry and solutions for lifting performance.

Other topics include advanced Farmax scenario planning and farm modelling; aligning and promoting your business with the modern farmer in mind; and the call from farmers for more integration in farm management software.

Hamilton-based AgFirst Waikato consultant James Allen is attending the conference. With more than 20 years in the industry, Allen leads an AgFirst team of 10 consultants who cover Waikato from Pukekohe to Taupo. The team all use Farmax and he said he’ll be encouraging a number of them to join him.

“The conference will be a great opportunity to network with other consultants and share ideas for pushing the boundaries in our industry. Farmax is an incredibly powerful tool – and it’s always evolving so that it can do more for farmers - and as consultants we need to stay up to date with the latest developments,” said Allen.

He added that the fact there is no registration fee is a real incentive and removes a barrier which should encourage a lot of rural professionals to attend.

Registrations are essential for the two Farmax conferences in November in Rotorua (18th and 19th) and Christchurch (21st and 22nd). The conferences are open to all rural consultants, agri-business professionals and farm advisors regardless of whether or not they use Farmax software in their advisory businesses.

To register and for more information, phone Farmax on 0800 327 629 or email . View the conference programmes at


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