Rural round-up


Meanwhile back at the ranch – Fran O’Sullivan:

Is Fonterra’s Sir Henry van der Heyden staying on past his use-by date as the dairy co-operative’s chairman to protect chairman-elect John Wilson from a boardroom coup?

That question was doing the rounds even before Fonterra confirmed on September 27 that van der Heyden would not step down from the board as expected this December when he hands over the chairmanship to John Wilson at the co-op’s AGM.

Van der Heyden will instead stay on for an unspecified period – expected to be much less than the December 2013 period when his term as an elected board member runs out – to ostensibly “provide continuity around the board table” until after Trading among Farmers (Taf) is up and running. . .

Maintaining lifestyle balance – Sally Rae:

Keri Johnston was about halfway through her final year at St Kevin’s College, in Oamaru, when she decided to pursue an engineering degree.

Ms Johnston had always loved science and mathematics but laughingly recalled how she hated the sight of blood, which ruled out anything in the medical profession.

After hearing a talk from a lecturer from the University of Canterbury School of Engineering, she decided engineering was something she might like to do. . .

Rabobank Australia & NZ country banking head appointed CEO of US Rabo AgriFinance:

Rabobank Australia and New Zealand Group country banking division head Neil Dobbin has been appointed to run Rabobank’s United States agri banking business, Rabo Agri Finance (RAF).

Mr Dobbin – a veteran of 25 years with Rabobank in Australia and New Zealand, the past decade as group executive Country Banking Australia & New Zealand – has taken on the role of chief executive officer for RAF.

Announcing the appointment, Rabobank Group executive board member Berry Marttin said during Mr Dobbin’s stewardship of its Country Banking operations in Australia and New Zealand, Rabobank had grown to become the leading food and agribusiness bank in the region. . .

New voice for local farmers

The new president of Federated Farmers in Wairarapa is aiming to make sure local farmers have their voice heard.

Bideford’s Jamie Falloon was voted in on Tuesday night by the executive committee to replace outgoing president Paul McGill, who is taking up a position at Landcorp in Wellington.

Mr Falloon, 43, lives in Bideford with his wife Georgie and three children Joe, 9, John, 6 and Anabelle, 4. . .

Blue sky thinking from green fingered finalists:

Ideas that cut the cost of heating propagation beds to grow plants and turn frost fans into power generators are just two of the six projects being developed by the finalists for the Agmardt Market Innovation project in the 2012 Young Horticulturist of the Year Competition. Other innovation ideas include collapsible crates for freighting small plants, an instant rollout flower mat, and a design that takes weeding to a new level.

Six finalists from around New Zealand who have won their industry sector competitions are preparing for the intensive two day competition on November 14 and 15 in Auckland.

“The standard this year is amazing; I think the judges will have difficulty selecting the winner,” says Nicola Rochester, Chair of the RNZIH Education Trust, which manages the competition. . .

End of an era for EDPPP


The retirement of Professor John Morris, the inaugural director of Rabobanks’ Executive Development Programme for Primary Producers, marks the end of an ispirational era.

The EDPPP programme started in 1999. The 15th class graduated on Thursday evening and the celebration dinner was also an opportunity to pay tribute to John.

He grew up in Canterbury and graduated from Lincoln  with a B Ag Sci. He then gained an MBA in marketing and finance from Cranfield School of Management and a PhD in food marketing from Cornell University. His business and academic career has included extensive international experience in retailing and food marketing and professorships of food marketing at leading universities.

He always retained a love of farming and rapport with farmers. Add to this a quick wit, an enviable ability to remember names and to make everyone he talked to feel valued and it would be difficult to find anyone better to start and develop the EDPPP.

Counting graduates isn’t hard – there’s been 450 of them – quantifying the positive difference the course has made on their lives and businesses would be much more difficult but there is no doubt it is significant.

Those 449 Australian and New Zealand, and one Dutch, graduates would be the first to say they and their businesses would not be where they are today without what they learned during the programme and that John played a very important role in it.

He will be missed but he won’t be forgotten. On Thursday Neil Dobbin, Group Executive Country Banking for Rabobank Australia and New Zealand announced that the award for the best project which participants complete between the programme’s two modules will now be known as the Dr John Morris prize.

You can read more about the EDPPP here. The programme will continue with Angus Taylor as director.

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