Former MIE chairman Richard Young is seeking another term on the Silver Fern Farms Co-operative (SFF) board to play his part in ensuring a successful partnership with Shanghai Maling delivers improved returns to farmers.
The sheep and cropping farmer from Tapanui in West Otago says the past three years has required a lot of hard work to deliver a sustainable capital structure and future for SFF.
“Now that the deal is over the line, it is time to deliver on the opportunities the 50/50 joint venture with Shanghai Maling offers,” he says.
Young has been selected by his fellow directors to be one of three farmer-elected directors to sit on the new Silver Fern Farms joint venture board. However, as he has is retiring by rotation from the cooperative’s board, along with fellow board member and MIE member Dan Jex-Blake, he faces re-election ahead of the annual meeting on 15 February 2017.
If re-elected, Young says he is extremely motivated to deliver these opportunities back to SFF and in time deliver more sustainable returns back to the company’s 16,000 sheep, beef and deer supplying shareholders.
“On-farm returns must improve and the ability to now promote our customer-led ‘plate-to-pasture’ strategy unhindered by high debt is the catalyst to improve these returns,” he says.
New product development and initiatives for the Chinese market continue to evolve.
“Our partners want our product processed and packed in New Zealand. This is guaranteeing the product integrity that the Chinese consumer demands. We need then to link these requirements to on-farm programmes paying premiums for in-spec/on-time livestock, the Beef Eating Quality system is a great example of this,” says Young.
He is pleased with what has been achieved during his initial three-year term on the SFF board.
“It became clear early on that Alliance had a strategy that did not include SFF unless on its terms. We had to secure a future for our company and the Shanghai Maling joint venture does this. Now we must really work hard to make sure we maximise this opportunity for our company and its shareholders.”
Richard Young says that while SFF has come a long way in the last three years, “the mountain is far from conquered”. He says he remains as committed as ever to improved performance and, in particular, improved returns to farmers.
“Farm-gate returns must improve and SFF’s strategy combined with a strong balance sheet offers a pathway to improve returns. I want to be part of this transformation that will allow the next generation to experience what we have had the privilege of enjoying,” he concludes.
Richard Young, together with his wife Keri, is the owner/operator of their 300ha Balmaha Farm at Tapanui. He was a student at Otago Boys High School before completing a B.Com in Economics at the University of Otago. He completed the Kelloggs Leadership course in 2011 and graduated from the Leading Board cooperative governance course in 2013. He is a member of the Institute of Directors and has completed the company directors training in 2014, Audit and Risk committee training in 2016 as well as a Health &Safety module in 2016. He is a director of a commercial property investment company.
Away from the board table and the shearing shed, Young’s interests include golf, cycling and actively supporting his children both academically and on the sporting field.
Nominations for the SFF board close on 23 December and the voting deadline for shareholders is 17 January 2017. The result of the directors election will be announced before the annual meeting on 15 February 2017. For more information …