Bal­four farmer heads AgRe­search board

The Southland Times - - WEATHER - RU­RAL RE­PORTERS

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).

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