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AgResearch confirms its reconfiguration

26 September 2013

AgResearch confirms its reconfiguration

While it will not be without some pain, the need for modern progressive agricultural research centres of excellence has Federated Farmers supporting the reconfiguration of AgResearch.

“You could possibly squeeze several AgResearch’s onto the footprint it currently occupies,” observed Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Vice-President.

“If it is ‘bricks and mortar’ versus capability then capability must win out. Excepting a few modern buildings, AgResearch is operating out of tired facilities and these are not good advertisements for world-beating science.

“Current facilities are as removed from the Google Campus experience as a microwave meal is from Masterchef.

“For AgResearch staff, who have undergone consultation, no moves are scheduled before 2016. It is beneficial that they are being given good lead times because many will face major personal and professional decisions.

“I have been assured by AgResearch that its linkage with the University of Otago’s exceptional genetics team will be maintained and that drystock farm system capability to support deer, sheep and beef farming is being retained at Invermay.

“I do however understand why Hamilton and Dunedin and even some of our own members near those centres, cannot see many upsides right now.

“While the remaining Invermay team will move into their new building there, further investment in Ruakura and Invermay would defeat the concept of creating scientific and applied research hubs.

“There is a ‘Food HQ’ coming to Palmerston North comprising AgResearch, Massey University, the Riddet Institute, Plant & Food Research, the Bio Commerce Centre and Fonterra. In the South Island, an ‘Ag HQ’ campus at Lincoln will see AgResearch co-located with Lincoln University, DairyNZ, Plant & Food and Landcare Research.

“I should add that the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre is based in Palmerston North and comprises most of those who will be at either the Food or Ag HQ hubs.

“Neither Ruakura nor Invermay are shutting up shop, instead, they are changing focus to specialise in the land and water interface. A key priority for New Zealand farming,” Dr Rolleston concluded.

ends

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