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North Island consultants win Farmax Consultant of the Year

For Immediate Release
19 November 2013

North Island rural consultants win Farmax Consultant of the Year Awards

A “rock star” of farm consulting who shares his success with his clients has taken one of two top prizes at the inaugural Farmax Consultant of the Year Awards.

John Cannon, of Hastings, won the Farmax Consultant of the Year for the North Island. While AgFirst Hawkes Bay consultant Ben Harker was named Farmax Emerging Consultant of the Year for all of New Zealand.

They each were awarded their titles at the Farmax Consultants’ Conference in Rotorua on November 19.

The awards, sponsored by Beef + Lamb New Zealand and the Ministry for Primary Industries, honour the top North and South Island consultants who use the pastoral support software in their businesses. The South Island winner will be announced at Farmax’s South Island conference next week.

The award is a $4000 prize including funds for further education in pasture-based production and 40 paid hours to conduct an industry- related research project.

John, a former Wairarapa Farmer of the Year himself, has served two recent Hawkes Bay Farmers of the Year winners in his role as a rural consultant where his specialises in agribusiness, strategic planning, business analysis and coaching.

Farmax general manager Gavin McEwen said John is “exceptionally proficient” at using the software to help clients get the best performance from their businesses.

“His nomination description called him a rock star of the consultancy world and that’s exactly what he is. He is an excellent consultant but also has a real grasp of the practicalities of farming having been a very successful farmer in his own right,” Mr McEwen said.

John will use the prize to complete a project demonstrating how the unique strategic attributes of a farm can be best integrated with the supply chain, including processors and exporters, in order to minimise wastage in the system and maximise profit on Farm.

He will use the Farmax model to help farmers visualise and understand the benefits of taking a holistic, longer term approach, instead of the price taking and spot market mentality that is often a hindrance to industry advancement.

AgFirst Hawkes Bay consultant Ben Harker won the Emerging Consultant Award thanks in part to his understanding of the benefits of technology, systems changes and the key drivers of success.

Ben’s conscientious approach and willingness to try different options to reach a goal helped clinch him the title.

The Farmax awards were developed to recognise the expertise of consultants using the New Zealand-developed software synonymous with rural professional excellence, Mr McEwen said.

“Without the expertise of the consultants driving the application and interpreting the results it is only software,” Mr McEwen said.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s farm general manager Richard Wakelin said the awards support key elements of the red meat sector’s strategy and in particular sector best practice.

“The role agribusiness consultants play in improving farm productivity through improved business skills is absolutely critical to the success of the red meat sector. This competition promotes those who are going the extra mile in developing their core skills,” Richard said.

Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI’s) Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) Director Justine Gilliland said sponsoring the award aligns with MPI’s goal of furthering the productivity and profitability of the primary sector.

“Ensuring farmers are getting the best performance from their businesses, and enabling them to adapt and innovate, will be key to New Zealand’s current and future prosperity,” says Ms Gilliland.

About 25 per cent of New Zealand’s rural professionals are Farmax consultants.


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