I was born and raised on a family farm near Waimate, South Canterbury. I have run the 295ha mixed sheep and beef property carrying 3500-4000 stock units, since 1983. As well a ewe breeding flock, stock trading and a bull beef operation, I have established a diverse range of woodlots for production and amenity value. I graduated with a Bachelor of Agriculture from Lincoln College in 1977. After that I spent 4 years working in New Zealand and the USA for chemical companies where I carried out Research and development work on new chemicals, as well as general promotion and technical support to the sales force. This work included publishing several research papers.
I have been a member of the NZ Farm Forestry Association since 1985. I was elected to the NZFFA National Executive in 2003, and have now been the National President for almost two years. The NZFFA membership is primarily farmers, but in addition has a diverse range of people from all over New Zealand. Our membership is exclusively small scale, but collectively we hold an increasing proportion of the harvest. Our resource is primarily Radiata, but we are the only organised group that actively promotes the growing and utilisation of alternative species. The current lack of new plantings, and the increasing harvest from small scale growers are important issues to be addressed by any future industry organisations.
Since becoming President of the NZFFA, I have sat on the Board of Forest Owners, as well as on the WOODCO board; the industry umbrella organisation. I have been involved in the instigation, and the organisation of the levy referendum and its establishment from the beginning. I understand the issues and know the people involved in the industry, as well at the political level. I am well placed to represent the interests of the small scale grower, amongst what will undoubtedly be a corporate dominated board. I do not see this as a them and us scenario, but one of co-operation, and of understanding individual issues.
The industry has many issues to grapple with. The primary function initially will be to get the levy established, and on a firm footing. The budget is tight, so nothing fancy will be possible. Research is the top priority and improving funding in this area is paramount.
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