Comment: Looking at our leaders

Ali Spencer2Last June, the KPMG Agribusiness Agenda identified that any change in the industry is going to require strong leadership. Several have stepped up to take key leadership roles in the New Zealand meat sector recently, primarily on the producer side, ready to lead us into 2014 and beyond.

Newbies on the block include: Mike Petersen stepping up to become New Zealand’s latest Special Agricultural Envoy, who will act as an ambassador for New Zealand agriculture around the world. James Parsons, a farmer from Northland who has been a B+LNZ director since 2009, has been named B+LNZ chair-elect. A former envoy, Malcolm Bailey, is now chair of the Red Meat Profit Partnership, the red meat sector’s $64 million Primary Growth Partnership programme.

Yesterday. the Meat Industry Excellence (MIE) candidates Richard Young and Dan Jex-Blake took seats on the Silver Fern Farms board, newly chaired by Rob Hewett. They follow another MIE member Don Morrison, who joined the Alliance Group Board last week, alongside Murray Taggart, a sheep and cropping farmer from Oxford, who is the new chairman for the Group. Ohakune sheep and beef farmer John McCarthy has stepped up to become the new MIE chairman replacing Richard Young.  Wendy McGowan is the new national president of Rural Women New Zealand.

On the venison side, there is also a new chief executive for Deer Industry New Zealand Dan Coup, who is working alongside DINZ chairman Andy MacFarlane.

Former soldier and diplomat Martyn Dunne CNZM will draw on his experience as the Ministry of Primary Industries’ latest director-general.

So, there is plenty of new farmer leader representation, but where are the new meat business leaders coming from? It was surprising too to note the dearth of new female leaders on the list.

Doing nothing is no longer an option, says Feds

This week Federated Farmers is consulting its members about red meat reform options  – there are a number of options in a discussion document to be distributed tomorrow or Thursday. Meat & Fibre Chair Jeanette Maxwell has pledged on delivering “forward momentum” in the red meat sector and on the Red Meat Profit Partnership. She is talking about it being a ‘revolutionary fortnight for red meat’.

“As a Federation, we have released to our members a detailed options paper for reform of the red meat industry as we see it.”

Doing nothing is no longer an option for the industry, says Maxwell. “Our options paper contains some truly innovative ideas that we know will work well in the New Zealand setting.”

Step up to lead

The inspirational former South-African president Nelson Mandela, whose life and achievements have been celebrated over the past week, famously said  “I was not a messiah, but an ordinary man who had become a leader because of extraordinary circumstances.”

While not comparing the New Zealand meat industry with South Africa’s former apartheid regime in any way, shape or form, these are certainly exceptional times for our industry.There is a wealth of experience and knowledge already in the sector but now is the time for someone to step up into the role to inspire and lead the whole New Zealand meat industry team for 2014 and beyond.

New Zealand knows all about teams and leadership, but exactly who’s in the New Zealand meat industry 2014 team?  It’s approaching the silly season, so Allan, Mick and myself have had some fun to make our picks for the ‘Meat Blacks 2014’. (NEW!! means new into a leadership role this year, 2013). See what you think.

  1. Loosehead Prop – John McCarthy (MIE) NEW!!
  2. Hooker – Keith Cooper (Silver Fern Farms)
  3. Tighthead Prop – Tony Egan (Greenlea Premier Meats)
  4. Lock – ANZCO Foods/NZIBF, Sir Graeme Harrison (Captain?)
  5. Lock – Progressive Meats, Craig Hickson
  6. Blindside Flanker – Collier Isaacs (FarmIQ)
  7. Openside Flanker – Malcolm Bailey (Red Meat Profit Partnership) NEW!!
  8. Number 8 – James Parsons (B+LNZ Ltd) NEW!
  9. Half-back –  Grant Cuff (Alliance)
  10. 1st 5/8 – Murray Taggart (Alliance) NEW!!
  11. 2nd 5/8 – Peter Chrisp, (NZTE)
  12. Centre – Jeff Grant (OSPRI)
  13. Left Wing – Jeanette Maxwell (Fed Farmers Meat & Fibre)
  14. Right Wing – Dan Coup (Deer Industry New Zealand) NEW!!
  15. Fullback – Nathan Guy, Minister for Primary Industries

On the bench: Gerard Hickey (Firstlight Foods), Tim Ritchie (MIA, chief executive), Scott Champion (B+LNZ Ltd CEO), Sam Lewis (AFFCO), Dr Tom Robinson (AgResearch), Kris Orange (Deer Farmers’ Association chair), Andy MacFarlane (Deer Industry New Zealand chair), Sir James Wallace ONZM (Wallace Corporation), William McCook (OSPRI CEO, Bruce Wills (Federated Farmers chair), and Minister for Trade Tim Groser.

Team management: Coach, Mike Petersen; team manager Bill Falconer MIA, Owen Poole (formerly Alliance); Cheerleaders B+LNZ Inc, NZTE, Sharon Angus (SFF), Murray Brown (Alliance), Innes Moffatt (DINZ) and MeatExportNZ. Waterboy: Graham Cooney, Blue Sky Meats.

Referee: Martyn Dunne (MPI), Linesmen: (MPI).

Who would be on your virtual leadership team??

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