NZ Future Farms



The way farms are managed is changing.  Today’s farms require more capital, expertise, and governance to remain competitive into the future.  This conference will focus on the many ways of boosting farm performance and improving farm management.


Featuring insights from:

  • NZ Young Farmers
  • UN International Year of Family Farming
  • Landcorp Farming
  • DairyNZ
  • Federated Farmers
  • Families and Business
  • Primary ITO


This event is also a great opportunity to catch up with your peers, expand your networks, share your opinions, and discuss current and future challenges the New Zealand farming sector is facing.  It will include several short interactive discussion periods, plenty of time for networking throughout the day, and a networking drinks reception, all of which will provide opportunities to meet new people and discuss the key opportunities and challenges facing your rural business.

Some testimonials from past attendees:

  • ‘Some very good content and speakers.’
  • ‘Great conference, content and speakers.'
  • ‘Well run and well organised. A valuable opportunity.’
  • ‘Provided an opportunity to think about farm investment differently and identify investment pathways.’
  • ‘Overall conference was very interesting, professional, insightful, challenging to existing views – really enjoyed it!’


We expect delegates from corporate farming, legal, financial, farms services, and small hold farming backgrounds.

Small-hold (family) farmers attend FREE!

Conferenz wishes to encourage small hold farmers to attend too. We have a number of sponsored tickets available. If you own a small-hold, privately held farm and wish to apply for one of these tickets, please make your applications in writing to by 5 pm, 24 September 2014.  All applicants will be notified in writing by 1 October 2014.  Please note that the offer is valid for the conference only.


Agenda: Day 1


Registration & Coffee


Opening remarks from the Chair

Malcolm Nitschke, General Manager, AGMARDT


Key trends and demands in New Zealand’s farming sector

• What do New Zealand farmers need to do to remain competitive?
• What are the key challenges for agricultural products and what is the Federation’s role in this?
• What do current trends tell us about how the future farm will operate?

Graham Smith, Chief Executive, Federated Farmers


Developing a more effective governance model

• How does the average farm handle governance today?
• How are corporations and farms alike, and in what ways should they be managed differently?
• What is best practice governance within a farm context, and what should it achieve?
• When is a corporate governance model the best option?

Adrian van Bysterveldt, Development Project Manager - Large Dairy Businesses, DairyNZ


Morning break and refreshments


Case study: Practical takeaways from a change in governance

This case study will focus on a farm that has shifted the way they think and manage business to a formal governance model. They will share their experience with:
• Why they chose to make a change when they did
• The steps they have taken to further develop their governance model
• Key results and ‘best practice’ takeaways from their experience

Trevor Hamilton, Owner & CEO, T H Enterprises Ltd



Share the way that your farm is governed, how it can improve, and how you have been or will be developing your governance


Maori farming in the modern business environment

• What is the future of Maori agribusiness, and what are its goals?
• How to prioritise the environment and community while being a successful corporate farmer
• Case study examples from around the country

Dr. Nick Roskruge, Senior Lecturer / Researcher & Kaiarahi Maori (College of Sciences), Massey University; and Chairperson, Tahuri Whenua


Lunch break


Modernising employment relations

• Why do farmers need to think more like a business in the way they manage people?
• What steps can farmers take for more effective management of their workers?
• Case study examples of employment relations gone well and wrong on farms

Rupert Tipples, Associate Professor of Employment Relations, Lincoln University; and Team Leader, Rural Employment Relations


Case study: Utilising KPIs and balanced scorecards for better farm management

• Why utilise a cost of production and KPI framework on the farm?
• Pinpointing financial and non-financial goals
• Case studies from Landcorp’s farming experience

Peter Mills, Finance Information Manager, Landcorp Farming


Afternoon break and refreshments


Facilitating a smooth succession on the modern farm

• How is the corporatisation and larger equity needed for many farms changing the succession process?
• What should the succession planning process include?
• Analysing succession options for a high-performing future, including maintaining family ownership without a family member working on the farm
• Mastering communication as a part of the succession process

Josie Taylor, Director, Families and Business


Building the skill base for future farmers

• Are schools giving students adequate information about career opportunities in agriculture?
• What are tertiary institutions focusing on in agribusiness courses today?
• What skills do farmers need to be prepared for future shifts in the industry?
• How can upskilling throughout life be encouraged?

Fred Hardy, GM Strategic Business Development, Primary ITO


Managing the shift to multi-investor ownership models

• Understanding trends in farm ownership and the capital demands that influence them
• What are the key benefits and risks in equity partnerships and other multi-investor models?
• How will future farming growth be funded, and what role will overseas investment play?

Brett Gould, Director, Logan Gold Walsh Lawyers Limited
Kevin Cooney, Head - Agri Capital | Corp Comm & Rural, ASB


Summary remarks from the Chair


Networking drinks reception

Agenda: Day 2


Welcome back from the Chair


Promoting health in rural communities

• Understanding the current state of mental and physical health in NZ’s rural communities, and why it is in our best interest to change this
• What factors impact health in rural communities?
• The role of the farm manager in improving health of the workers

Michelle Thompson, CEO, Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand
Dr Jo Scott-Jones, Chairperson, Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand
Katie Milne, Board Member, Federated Farmers


Innovative freshwater management

• Potential solutions in development for managing effluent on the farm
• Best practices for budgeting nutrients and avoiding contamination in key risk areas
• Experience from farms in New Zealand and around the world

Natasha King, Agribusiness Manager, Meridian Energy


Morning break and refreshments


Case study: Takeaways from managing an organic farm

• A background to Avonstour Heritage Farm, its products and its governance
• Trends in demand for organic products, and why Avonstour has chosen to go organic
• Key considerations in improving organic farm management

John Earney, Sustainable Consultant and Public Speaker, Avonstour Heritage Farm


Technology in farming – Where are we, and where are we headed?

• How will technology change the farming industry for the next generation?
• What are the most exciting new developments now?
• How much should farmers embrace new technology, and what are the barriers?
• Case study examples from experience on farms

Brendan O'Connell, Vice Chair, Precision Agriculture Association New Zealand


Financial management and governance reporting for large farming businesses

The presentation will discuss the differing nature of financial reports needed by a board of directors, management team and tax compliance accounting, outlining why the tension between the differing needs must be kept in balance. The presentation will outline the roadmap Cashmanager RURAL will follow to address this area.

Brian Eccles, Managing Director, CRS Software


Lunch break


Presentation and mini-workshop: Finding common ground: Active solutions for people, product and planet

It’s a wicked opportunity. Leaders accept the ‘status quo’ is unacceptable and the world begs for clean, safe, green food. Meanwhile New Zealand struggles with its identity (and responsibility), failing to seize the moment to be an action oriented hero for tomorrow’s world. Solutions are on offer but finding common ground requires an openness to change cultural attitudes, practices and beliefs. This presentation and workshop will explore how food production systems of all sizes can adapt their ways of thinking and operations to meet these demands. The workshop will be based on our findings and learning from our leadership role and research conducted as part of the 2014 UN International Year of Family Farming and other first-hand experience around the world.

Brendan Hoare, Chair, UN International Year of Family Farming; and Managing Director, Organic Systems


Afternoon break and refreshments


Panel discussion: The future of farming

• Key takeaways and reflections from the conference
• First-hand observations of trends in the farming industry
• Visions for building a future for farming in New Zealand

Rebecca Warburton, Member, Rural Women NZ
Dr. Nick Roskruge, Senior Lecturer / Researcher & Kaiarahi Maori (College of Sciences), Massey University; and Chairperson, Tahuri Whenua
Sarah Crofoot, Chairperson, Wellington Young Farmers


Closing remarks from the Chair and end of conference


Interested in sponsorship?

There are some exclusive opportunities to promote your company, and its products and services, at this leading event. Contact the sponsorship team below to request a prospectus or discuss the options, or view more about event sponsorship.