5th Annual Future Farms Conference

Agritech, agrifood and innovation – unleashing the potential of the future farmer

Event Details


Registration and coffee
Opening remarks from the Chair
Steve Maharey, Independent Director, Steve Maharey Ltd
Opening address: Accelerating innovation and driving growth in New Zealand’s agriculture sector
Kieran McAnulty, Labour List MP based in the Wairarapa
Opening keynote: Pāmu - Leading the way in high-value farming

Landcorp has, in the last few years, been recognised for thinking differently and innovating the way they farm. Moving into a new mindset of becoming food producers, Andrew Sliper shares the journey of collaboration and innovation that has helped Pāmu etch out its place on the global stage.

  • Shifting from high productivity to high value products - learning from the Landcorp story
  • Meeting the demands of the consumer – what do they want and how can you deliver?
  • Selling a genuine story – linking the process on farm to the consumer
  • Lessons learned – what’s been easy and where the roadblocks still exist
  • What about me? Where is the place for the small producer in this story?
Andrew Sliper, General Manager - Commercial Development, Landcorp Farming
Panel: The farmers’ role in New Zealand’s economy – exploring new market opportunities

Last year, agriculture contributed over 3200 NZD Million to New Zealand’s GDP, showing that the primary sector continues to be a cornerstone of the economy. With a greater focus on our trading partners and consumers, experts in agrifood exports discuss the opportunities to expand within existing markets and the opportunities to develop new ones.

  • Understanding the expectations of key trading partners for NZ agri
  • Investigating new possibilities for trade and what they look for in their products
Jessica Bensemann, 2016 Nuffield Scholar
Andrew Sliper, General Manager - Commercial Development, Landcorp Farming
Lain Jager, former CEO, Zespri
Morning break
The digital farmer: Making sense of information and innovation
Farming innovation quickfire

The world of agritech innovation is developing at a rapid rate, creating new ways to deliver precision agriculture and ensure efficient use of resource. Hear from those leading the way in agritech and what it means for the modern farmer.

  a) Ensuring universal data standards – what is meaningful data?

Andrew Cooke, Managing Director, Rezare Systems

    b) The agritech innovation ecosystem from farm to fork

James Bell-Booth, Programme Manager, Sprout Agritech Accelerator

    c) Agrigate- leading future farm performance management   

Emma Parsons, CEO, Agrigate

Lunch break
Agritech on farm: The impact of innovation on NZ farming practice

As pioneers in this space, agritech is nothing new to New Zealand farmers. Brendan O’Connell, part of MPI’s advisory group on accelerating smart technology in agriculture, breaks down the hype to give farmers a real understanding of the impact of smart technology on their farm.    

Brendan O'Connell, Vice Chair, Precision Agriculture Association of New Zelanand (PAANZ)
Developing and diversifying on farm practice
Responding to biosecurity threats – protecting the farmgate

Part of providing high value food is ensuring that food is of high quality. The economic repercussions of a breach in biosecurity are vast, reflected in the 2017 mycoplasma bovis case, causing the culling of 4000 cows in the South Island.

  • Understanding why we need to collaborate across the sector to defend against biosecurity threats
  • Contextualising New Zealand’s biosecurity system and current research
  • Identifying the farmer’s role in risk responsibility
John Kean, Senior Scientist, Biocontrol & Biosecurity & Agresearch
Environmental sustainability – regulation and imperatives for farmers

The modern farmer is environmentally conscious, but with new regulations, including freshwater limits, there will be even more of an imperative to farm in the most sustainable way possible. Predicting the impact of the new green-focused government on the rural sector, what will the impact be on your farm?

James Ryan, General Manager, NZ Farm Environment Trust
Afternoon break
Spotlight focus: Deer farming – diversifying your farming outputs

Deer farming is becoming more popular with good prices available for both venison and velvet. Is inclusion of deer in a farming system a good return on investment and what are the challenges and opportunities in this sector?

Dan Coup, CEO, Deer Industry NZ
Closing keynote: Aotearoa-ising the agri story

As a fourth-generation farmer with a great success story, Mavis Mullins shares her vision for the future of farming. She will highlight how being mindful of ancient wisdoms blended with the fast-paced science and technology of today will enable a shift of the accepted norms and make way for the future of farming.

  • Ultimately leading to “real deal” sustainable farming practice and kaitiakitanga
  • ‘Our story, our way’ – leveraging New Zealand brand to create competitive advantage
Mavis Mullins, Chair, Poutama Trust
Summary remarks from the Chair & Networking function
Welcome back from the Chair
Agrifood: Farming’s role in high value food
Bringing New Zealand’s food story to life – competitive advantage through high value food

Justine Kidd, an advocate for creating value for farmers, shares her experience of innovating supply chains to deliver high value food to the Asian consumer by bringing the brand to life.

  • Finding value behind the farmgate – how Theland Farm Group has innovated their supply chain for premium milk products
  • Understanding how New Zealand is utilising partnerships with China to create competitive advantage with our food products
  • Learning from ‘outside the box’ thinking – bringing the consumer to the farmgate to really experience the New Zealand story
Justine Kidd, CEO Agribusiness, Theland Farm Group
Panel: Creating a high value food economy – from the farmgate to the consumer

The journey for producing high value food starts with the farmer. Hear from those who are leading the food revolution on the work that is being done to develop a high value food economy and the implication on farmer production.

  • Addressing the threat that alternative proteins represent and how to compete with high value food
  • Opportunities to collaborate within the sector to produce greater value
  • A consumer-driven approach – leading with design thinking
Justine Kidd, CEO Agribusiness, Theland Farm Group
Alan Pollard, CEO, Pipfruit New Zealand
Sarah Crofoot, Meat & Fibre Policy Advisor, Federated Farmers
Abby Thompson, CEO, FoodHQ
Morning break
On farm health and safety
Innovation session: On farm health and safety

Farming is traditionally a high-risk sector with health and safety and a key focus for WorkSafe. Taking a new approach to managing critical risk and creating safer on farm practice to the benefit of people and business, Al McCone will lead an interactive innovation session which involves farmers in the development of practical, safe solutions to health and safety issues facing the industry.

Al McCone, Sector Lead- Agriculture, WorkSafe
The Rural Health Road Map – growing healthy rural communities in NZ

Safety strategy is at the forefront of the Rural Health Alliance, who have been working to develop a ‘rural health road map’ to support the health and wellbeing of farmers throughout the country.

  • Top 5 issues affecting health and wellbeing for farmers
  • Enhancing the liveability of rural communities to support health of farmers
Michelle Thompson, Chief Executive, Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand
Lunch break
The future of farming – navigating change and developing strategy
Developing rural communities to support the future farmer

There needs to be significant support to develop rural communities to ensure the future of farming and allow the retention of current farmers and development of new talent.

  • ​The role of the rural community for the future of farming and what makes a dynamic and resilient rural community
  • Connecting people that live, work and play in rural communities
  • Future-proofing rural communities to attract talent to the rural sector    
Janet Williams, Board Member, Rural Women New Zealand
Investing in the future of farming – why the sector needs to change to survive

The way we think about farming needs to reflect modern attitudes around the farming career path and succession planning. Terry Copeland shares his views for the imperative to change the sector and where we need to invest to bring through future talent.

  • A glance into the future: A shift in consumer food preferences, environmental sustainability key to market access and the future farming mix for economic certainty
  • Investing in people and talent – who do we need to attract to innovate the farming profession?
Terry Copeland, Chief Executive Officer, Federated Farmers New Zealand
Closing remarks from the Chair & end of Conference
The Excellerant Group
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