Federated Farmers has a new president and CEO.
Dr William Rolleston, former vice-president was elected unopposed to lead the organisation and Graham Smith takes over as CEO.
As Vice-President since 2011, I am honoured to be entrusted with a leadership role following in the footsteps of some farming greats,” says Dr Rolleston, Federated Farmers new President.
“Federated Farmers is New Zealand’s foremost rural advocate with a proud past and strong future.
“Our National Council knows that the President must represent the views of all members and Federated Farmers is a broad church. I endorse this principle.
“I believe we can learn from all form of farming systems, including organic practices, so long as these are underpinned by robust science.
“Given the overwhelming scientific consensus is that human activity, including agriculture, plays a significant role in climate change, science and innovation are key to the future of farming. Science and innovation are also key to the water quality sphere.
“I am fortunate that our Grain & Seed Industry Group chairperson, Ian Mackenzie, is staying on the Board for another year. His work in the Land & Water Forum was publicly acknowledged yesterday by our Minister for Primary Industries, the Hon Nathan Guy.
“Ian is widely respected even among the environmental lobby. His expertise and wise counsel will be welcome.
“As will be the support of my Vice-President, Wairarapa’s Anders Crofoot. As our buildings spokesperson, I must acknowledge the success Federated Farmers has had in convincing Government to remove farm structures from its earthquake prone buildings Bill.
“A $170 million saving for farmers is an auspicious start for my tenure and a tangible example of the value Federated Farmers delivers for its members and farming in general.
“I will draw on the myriad of skills that the West Coast’s Katie Milne offers, especially on the high profile areas of rural security, employment and adverse events.
“As a Board Member at large, she is joined in that capacity by Mid-Canterbury’s Chris Allen, who is fast developing expertise in water policy.
“I look forward to working with my newly elected Industry Group chairs, Rick Powdrell from Bay of Plenty for Meat and Fibre and Andrew Hoggard from Manawatu-Rangtikei for Dairy.
“Both are exceptionally talented farmers with an outstanding grasp of industry issues.
“Speaking of extremely talented people, Bruce Wills has been an inspiration to me. His focus on environment collaboration and communication has done much to represent the modern face of farming. These are themes I wish to continue with the new Board.
“As a Board it speaks volumes about Federated Farmers that someone of Graham Smith’s calibre came to us to be our new Chief Executive.
“As Graham has started the handover process with Conor English I wish to thank Conor for his guidance over the period I was Vice-President and before that as a provincial president.
“I am excited by the future,” Dr Rolleston concluded.
Wills and English have overseen a change for the better in Federated Farmers for which all involved in farming and the wider rural community should be grateful.
They have provided a strong foundation on which the new leadership can build and carry on the much-needed work representing and advocating for farmers, farming and rural New Zealand.