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Rabobank beefs up its animal proteins specialisation

Media release February 22, 2017

Rabobank beefs up its animal proteins specialisation

Leading agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank has appointed Blake Holgate to head up its research and analysis of New Zealand’s animal proteins sector.

Based in Dunedin, Mr Holgate joins the RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness division, a team of 90 analysts from around the globe focused on undertaking research into the food and agribusiness sector, including comprehensive reports on sector and commodity outlooks, latest market trends and future industry developments.

Mr Holgate has been with Rabobank since 2013 as a specialist in environmental sustainability and will continue with his role in assisting Rabobank clients achieve sustainability goals.

Announcing the new appointment, Rabobank CEO New Zealand Daryl Johnson said Mr Holgate was a valuable addition to the RaboResearch team with his wide sector and industry knowledge and experience.

“Growing up on a beef and sheep property in South Otago, which he continues to run with his parents, Blake has an intrinsic understanding of the sector,” Mr Johnson said.

“This practical knowledge, combined with his research and analytical skills and understanding of the wider New Zealand agricultural sector – developed over the past three years in his role as Rabobank’s environmental sustainability specialist – ensures he has a breadth of experience that will be extremely valuable to our clients and the business overall.”

Mr Holgate, who will continue to analyse the impact of impending environmental regulations on New Zealand’s agricultural sector, said he was excited to be expanding his research charter across the animal proteins sectors – primarily beef and sheepmeat but also pork, poultry and seafood.

“While I have a genuine passion for environmental sustainability, my heart also lies in the animal proteins space – I think from being off a sheep and beef farm myself – so when this opportunity came up which allowed me to focus on both, I jumped at it,” Mr Holgate said.

The broadening of his research portfolio also “made sense”, Mr Holgate said, with beef and sheep farmers increasingly affected by changing environmental regulations.

“My ongoing analysis of current and future environmental regulations is increasingly pertinent for the animal proteins sector, as beef and sheep farmers need to continually weigh up the economic cost of carrying out some of these measures against the environmental benefit,” he said.

Mr Holgate said stricter environmental regulations didn’t only have implications for farmers, with measures including stock exclusion from waterways and restrictions on intensification and associated nitrate use, but across the sector’s value chain.

“New Zealand’s red meat industry is increasingly looking at how it can brand itself to extract more value in the international marketplace and New Zealand’s sustainability story is becoming an increasingly important part of that,” he said.

RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness general manager Tim Hunt said Mr Holgate would work closely with the wider New Zealand, Australian and global Rabobank food and agribusiness research team.

Mr Holgate is currently writing a research paper on the implications of China’s growing demand for animal proteins on the New Zealand sector (out to 2020) in conjunction with colleagues based in China. “Blake is also able to tap into animal protein analysts in Australia, Brazil, North America and Europe – as well as, New Zealand-based dairy analyst, Emma Higgins,” Mr Hunt said.

As a central component of Rabobank’s capacity for informed credit decision making, product development, advisory services and strategic client partnerships, Mr Hunt said the core focus of the RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness division was to help the bank’s clients make informed decisions for their business.

Mr Holgate holds a MBA from Otago University and prior to joining Rabobank, practiced as an environmental lawyer.

Rabobank New Zealand is a part of the international Rabobank Group, the world's leading specialist in food and agribusiness banking. Rabobank has more than 115 years' experience providing customised banking and finance solutions to businesses involved in all aspects of food and agribusiness. Rabobank is structured as a cooperative and operates in 40 countries, servicing the needs of approximately 8.8 million clients worldwide through a network of more than 1000 offices and branches. Rabobank New Zealand is one of New Zealand's leading rural lenders and a significant provider of business and corporate banking and financial services to country's food and agribusiness sector. The bank has 33 branches throughout New Zealand. Rabobank also operates RaboDirect, New Zealand’s first internet-only bank specialising in savings and deposits.

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