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Give AgResearch a chance

29 May 2014

Give AgResearch a chance

Federated Farmers understands that with any major decision there will be concern, however, it is asking people to look at the best strategic outcome for New Zealand agricultural science. Above all, to give AgResearch the chance to reform itself as a 21st Century Crown Research Institute.

“I think farmers should welcome the way AgResearch has listened to reason because Invermay’s future has been enhanced over the original proposals,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Food Production Sciences spokesperson.

“There have been some regional gains for those in the south and north, with the Invermay and Ballantrae hill country farms being kept for sheep, beef and deer research. Invermay will clearly become the centre for deer research.

“We must remember that this restructure is not this year, next year or even the year after. We are talking 2017 and while one out of every four scientific or technician roles will be asked to relocate, that means 75 percent will not.

“I do not know of a major restructure where staff are being given a three-year timescale.

“Yet we must not become sentimental over tired bricks and mortar.

“Putting new wine into old bottles seldom succeeds and frankly, with a few exceptions, the state of current facilities is not a good advertisement for the scientific talent we need.

“AgResearch is about the future and not the past. To go forward, as primary industries, we need world-class leading scientific capability that delivers what our industries will need.

“This is why Federated Farmers supports the $100 million reinvestment by AgResearch into AgResearch. It is self-funding a transformation project and it deserves support.

“A ‘FoodHQ’ in Palmerston North and what is effectively an ‘AgHQ’ at Lincoln University. These two hubs will in turn be supported by the Waikato Agricultural Hub at Ruakura and the Invermay campus and hill country farm.

“Science is no longer made up of closed teams working in isolation but of interdisciplinary collaboration.

“Given the hubs will be made up of scientists from other organisations this is about sparking the innovations we need to double the value of primary exports by 2020. Federated Farmers is confident AgResearch is set to deliver just that,” Dr Rolleston concluded.

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