New Project Manager appointed for Extension 350
January 20, 2020
Northland Inc has appointed a new Project Manager for Extension 350 as the award-winning, farmer-to-farmer learning programme enters what promises to be a pivotal year.
Greg Hall, who has extensive experience in the events and transport sector, delivering high-profile projects such as the 2011 Rugby World Cup and Auckland City Parking, takes over from Liz Campbell, who had worked with Extension 350 (E350) since its inception in 2016.
“This is an exciting new challenge for me and I’m looking forward to applying the project management skills I’ve built over 20 years in logistics, transport and local government agencies to E350,” said Hall, who grew up on a 400ha Southland sheep farm and now owns a lifestyle block in Ruakaka, raising beef stock.
One of his career highlights to date, he says, was the Rugby World Cup when, as Project Manager Transport, he oversaw the transportation of all modes to and from the game venues, fan zones and caravan parks. “We managed to transport 650,000 people without sustaining a single injury.”
E350 Project Lead Luke Beehre welcomed Hall to the team and paid tribute to Campbell, who left the role to concentrate on family and her budding ceramics business. “Liz was a knowledgeable and highly effective Project Manager with E350. She understood the needs of the farmers and grew the role into what it’s become today, bringing a real sense of urgency and focus on delivery,” he said.
“We also recognise the fresh, diverse range of skills and experience that Greg brings to the job. Project delivery has common themes and disciplines irrespective of the industry involved, and I look forward to his contributions and E350 continuing to make a positive impact on the lives of Northland’s farmers.”
The project management team is completed by Jan McPhail, Project Support, who looks after administration.
E350 is a farmer-led, farmer-focused project, working with 350 farmers to make constructive change in their business and home lives. The project is driven by a three-plank approach: increasing profitability, improving farmer wellbeing and improving environmental sustainability.
“A key component of E350 is that farmers develop and articulate their life, business vision and strategies and turn these into coherent, achievable actions,” said Beehre. “As a project team, we guide and support our target farmers through a structured process that assists with this. It incorporates a series of activities ranging from a whole farm assessment and benchmarking their performance, developing an understanding of their business as it stands and attending training sessions.”
The five-year project, Beehre explained, is just past the halfway-mark and now involves more than 330 farmers, with 10 clusters up and running, and seven agri-consultants. “We’ve reached an important and challenging stage of the process; we’re making good headway but there’s still a lot of work to be done.”
Northland Inc CEO Murray Reade praised the work done by E350 so far. “The strong collaboration – one of Northland Inc’s greatest strengths – and the leadership of our project management team has been absolutely crucial to the programme’s overall progress.
“It has enabled E350 to share its developing story with a diverse group of people, from Northland farmers to central government, regional councils, dairy cooperatives and medical practices, while enabling Northland Inc to further develop and deepen its relationship and engagement with the region’s agri-sector.”
Beehre added that 10 on-farm public field days were planned to be held over the next six months, with the first scheduled for late February. The field days allow farmers to unlatch their gates, showcase E350 in action and share something of their journey along the way.
“The engagement with the field days has been particularly positive,” he said. “It’s important for farmers to recognise that they’re on a journey, that change is under way and all their hard work and effort is proving worthwhile. They can then share this with the wider farming community and, in turn, help them to reflect on what they do, to get inspired and to grow.”
E350, part of the Tai Tokerau Northland Economic Action Plan, is supported by Northland Inc, the regional economic development agency, Ministry for Primary Industries, Northland Regional Council, DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb NZ.