Balfour farmer heads AgResearch board
Southland farmer Jeff Grant is the new chairman of the AgResearch board. Grant has paid tribute to his predecessor, Hawke’s Bay farmer Sam Robinson, for an ‘‘outstanding’’ nine years leading the organisation through some of its biggest ever changes.
‘‘Sam has led from the front in advocating for the important science that AgResearch does to support New Zealand’s agriculture, and we have continued to see top quality research coming from the scientists even as funding has been harder to come by.’’
‘‘Sam has been absolutely committed to seeing through the organisation’s Future Footprint programme, where he’s pushed strongly for investment in new science facilities in conjunction with both Massey and Lincoln universities as the key to continuing to attract top graduates and shaping New Zealand’s pastoral farming sector through good science.
‘‘It was pleasing to see the final piece to the funding jigsaw for the new Lincoln joint facility confirmed in Sam’s final month as chair.’’
A Balfour sheep farmer, Grant’s interest in research started back in 1994 as chairman of the Meat Research and Development Council.
In the last 20 years he has been involved with the funding and establishment of research programmes, such as the Pastoral 21 programme - where AgResearch worked with partners such as DairyNZ, Fonterra and Beef + Lamb New Zealand to boost farm productivity and reduce environmental impacts.
Grant previously held the role of deputy chairman, and has taken over as chairman after Robinson stepped down having served out his third consecutive term.
There are also three new members to the AgResearch board - Colin Armer, Jackie Lloyd, and Kim Wallace.
‘‘It is always refreshing to have new ideas and perspectives brought to the table and I know Jackie, Kim and Colin are going to make great contributions,’’ Grant said.
Grant said his focus would be continuing to build on AgResearch’s ability to deliver science that is highly relevant to the future of farming.
‘‘I see the organisation as being the lead provider of answers that allow farmers to meet the expectations for producing high quality food in natural and sustainable environments, while also being able to run a viable business.
‘‘It will be challenging, but as long as the wider farming sector and the crown understand science has to be funded in order to find the answers, we will get there.‘‘
Grant, a previous MP for Awarua from 1987-1993, has been involved in many directorships including for Landcorp, PGG Wrightson, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, and was previously the chairman for the NZ Meat Board and Meat and Wool New Zealand.
He is the chairman of Mount Linton Station, OSPRI, the Milford Development Authority, and Southland Shared Services, and a director of the Southland Building Society (SBS).