People crucial in ag success

The importance of people and their knowledge is being recognised by new award for the Lincoln University Foundation’s South Island Farmer of the Year competition.

Chairman Ben Todhunter says the foundation is pleased to introduce, with the support of the Bank of New Zealand, a $5000 cash prize to the competition for best use of human resources.

“The BNZ Human Resources Award is one of four new categories we have introduced to the competition, in addition to the main prize of a $20,000 travel/study fund,” Todhunter says. “Each of these categories recognise how multi-skilled agricultural business has become to maintain New Zealand’s leading edge as a world class producer.

Todhunter says the award was created to recognise the importance of human resource management in a farm business, including the crucial role people play as innovators and creators and passers on of knowledge; and the contribution to business success that is achieved through strong and effective relationships, internally and externally.

The stereotypical farmer is a man alone. But even one man, or woman, businesses depend on good relationships with the people who service and supply the farm and bigger operations can’t succeed without good relationships with staff.

BNZ head of Agribusiness, Richard Bowman, says an award highlighting the importance of recognising and sharing the skills that sit behind New Zealand’s agribusiness sector is an important addition to the competition.

“The value of the products produced here is well understood, but just as important is the knowledge, techniques and skill that produces those products.

“New Zealand leads the world in farming methodology and process, but the commercial value of those skills is often undervalued, both within the sector and across the wider economy,” says Mr Bowman.

Mr Bowman says that passing on that intellectual property is a critical part of industry succession planning.

“Developing human resource management processes designed to pass knowledge to young farmers and identify talent will ensure New Zealand’s agribusinesses continue to thrive and lead our country’s export growth.”

Mr Bowman also commented that the skills represented in the competition are themselves a latent export opportunity.

“There is real commercial value in our methodology and knowledge in international markets, which represents a significant export opportunity for the sector.

“An on-farm attitude recognising and fostering skills and IP will allow this opportunity to be more fully enjoyed.”

Todhunter says the Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition creates a process where others in the industry can learn from the experiences of the finalists and eventual winner, supporting the spread of knowledge for the betterment of the industry as a whole.

“Farmers who win the BNZ award,” Todhunter says, “will have demonstrated real skills in maximising their people resource to promote business success and grow industry knowledge.”. . .

The overall winner will have demonstrated that they are in the top echelon of agricultural producers, that the farm business is sustainable and that they have developed, or are in the process of developing, a new approach or approaches, either inside or beyond the farm gate, that will enhance their farming activity.

Other new prizes are the Lincoln University award for technology and innovation; the Silver Fern Farms ‘Plate to Pasture’ award for consumer focus and the Resource Use Efficiency award for excellence in sustainable resource management.

Nominations and/or entries for this year’s competition have opened and close on August 1.

There’s more information on the competition, including how to nominate someone for, or enter, it here.

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