Seminar Programme : Wednesday 21 February 2024

9.30am  Fleur Gardiner 
                 Investment Adviser, Craigs Investment Partners 

Investing beyond the farm. A seminar that discusses off-farm investments, preserving and growing your capital and building your personal investment portfolio.

Fleur joined Craigs Investment Partners in 2013. Prior to this, Fleur held senior roles at Telecom New Zealand and GE Consumer Finance, in the UK. 

Fleur specialises in creating and managing wealth for her clients, particularly those in the rural community, and is passionate about educating her clients and supporting them on their journey towards financial success.

10.15am  Georgia Massie 
Territory Sales Manager, Eastern North Island Agricom
Regenerating Soils and Landscapes with Pasture

To begin the recovery process, building organic matter and fertility within a soil profile is important for soil regeneration. Looking at the strengths of different pasture options, in context to their ability to help revegetate a damaged pasture, or block and provide an opportunity to get back to an improved state as fast as possible following a flood event. Taking this one step further and discussing what certain plant species contribute to animal performance and crop rotations on farm.

11am   Dr John Roche
Chief Science Advisor for Ministry for Primary Industries 
The Future of Food 

11am   Working Dog Demonstration with Guy Peacock​​​​​​​

11.45am   Julia Jones
A trailblazer in navigating tomorrow's uncertainty
 Leaning into Progress

With a visionary zeal, Julia doesn't just live in the moment; she's perpetually electrified by the future's potential. Change isn't just inevitable for her—it's a playground where she empowers others to stride forward with confidence.Julia's zeal lies in decoding global macro trends, especially their influence on the Food and Fibres sector, to arm business leaders with strategic insights. From consumer markets to sustainable finance, she's a guiding star, crafting strategies and stakeholder connections that ensure enduring relevance in a fluctuating world.

Her journey is studded with stellar milestones:·        

  • Current Chair at the helm of Meat the Need, a charity tackling food security.      
  • Rocked the stage as a keynote speaker in China, Australia, and Singapore (2019-2023).       
  • Snagged the emerging leader scholarship for Stanford University, 2017.        
  • Dived into Russian business dynamics in 2014.        
  • Sharpened her skills in the AWDT Escalator Governance Program, 2011.        
  • Brain was stretched at the Harvard Agri Seminar in China, 2010. 

Julia believes her most transformative growth springs from her challenges and setbacks, which have shaped her into the dynamic force she is today.

12.30pm  Rural News Cadet Challenge
Teams of 3 agricultural cadets or secondary school will compete in our
inaugural rustic style masterchef challenge.

​​​​​​​1pm  Drone Demonstration

2pm      Dr Jacqueline Rowarth
                   Adjunct Professor Lincoln University ​​​​​​​
Sustainability and 'Better'
A 'better' year in food production - what would that mean? 
The answer is 'It Depends'.... on perspective and starting point. Government, regional councils, processors and consumers, as well as environmentalists all have a view on what 'better' means.

Untangling the words to identify what might make sense for different farms is the key to a positive future.

2.45pm  Matt Chisholm  Farmer, Writer and Part time Television Host 
Sponsored by Rural Support Trust

Former Auckland based television personalityMatt Chisholm is now working as a part-timewriter, television host, and farmer in CentralOtago’s heartland.

As the inaugural Ambassador for Rural Support Trust he kicked off his ambassadorship role witha nationwide “Time out Tour” talking to ruralcommunities on the topic of mental wellnessand resilience. 

6pm    Property Brokers Muster

Networking event with keynote speaker Hamish McKay
$20 per ticket includes continuous canapes and cash bar


Seminar Programme : Thursday 22 February 2024
Seminars held in AGMARDT marquee

9.30am   Michael Bassett-Foss Land for Life Project Director,                               Hawke’s Bay Regional Council,
Land for Life: Supporting farmers’ vision for their land

The Land for Life project is an initiative lead by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council in partnership with The Nature Conservancy and with support from MPI that aims to support farmers to plant the right trees in the right places to slow erosion, improve freshwater quality, improve biodiversity and build resilient farms. The initiative will help farmers achieve their vision for their land, assist meet regulatory requirements, increase business performance and ultimately support the wider community to thrive. The pilot project has been piloted on 15 farms in Hawke’s Bay and a wider scale up is being planed.

10.15am   Matthew Pickering  Rural Coach, Partner – Gisborne
Communication - the key to effective family and business relationships
Graduating with an Agricultural degree from Lincoln, Matthew embarked on a 22 year banking career from working with farmers to Regional Manager where he led 110 staff.

In depth sporting and community involvements at operational and governance levels, and four life threatening incidents has broadened and deepened his understanding around humility, self-awareness, resilience, and excellence. 

Since 2008 Matthew has focused his experiences on New Zealand’s rural industry. To each farmer, rural family and business he offers, understanding, independence, clarity, cut-through and accountability steps to support achievement of what matters most.​​​​​​​

11am        Beef + Lamb NZ led panel discussion
Tales of Greener Pasture:
Farmer Experiences in Navigating Worm Challenges

An opportunity to gain practical insights to prevent and manage your way out of drench resistance; from farmers who are out there doing it. 

This seminar delves deep into the heart of a critical issue facing our local farming communities – drench resistance in sheep with worms. 

This event, organised in collaboration with Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s WormWise programme, brings together a panel of seasoned farmers who will share their invaluable experiences and insights into combating this pressing challenge.

Hear firsthand accounts of successes, setbacks, and the innovative strategies they've employed to maintain healthy flocks. 

Gain insights into the day-to-day decisions these farmers make to overcome challenges and protect the well-being of their livestock.

11am    Working Dog Demonstration with Guy Peacock

11.45am Hilton Collier 
                (Ngāti Porou) Farm Management Advisor​​​​​​​​            
A cultural shift for the future of agribusiness in Aotearoa   

Born and bred on the East Coast, Hilton has had almost 40 years of Agribusiness consulting experience throughout the region including Wairoa. Since graduating from Lincoln, his career has spanned from grassroots farming through to his governance roles involving an innovative meat exporting business and the tertiary sector.

In his role as the Director of the Federation of Māori Authority Policy and Advocacy unit, he has been deeply involved in several industry groups helping to influence the development of environmental policies such as Climate Change, Freshwater, and the ETS. In his view, the future of food production including red meat, will be shaped more by the demands of the markets where we sell our products.  We need to prepare for demanding economic times ahead unless we respond more positively to the emerging signals and agreements we have signed up to.  He also notes the need to reconfigure our supply chains if we are to return a greater share of the value of our food production to farmers at home.

12.30pm  Keith Woodford   
Professor of Farm Management and Agribusiness, AgriFood Systems Director                 
New Zealand needs pastoral agriculture

After working professionally on rural development and agribusiness projects in more than 20 countries, plus climbing mountains in many parts of the world, Keith was appointed Professor of Farm Management and Agribusiness at Lincoln University in 2000. 

He retired from Lincoln in 2015 but has continued working both in New Zealand and overseas through his own company AgriFood Systems.  He also writes regularly for both rural and urban audiences, including many articles for Farmers Weekly and at More than 300 of these articles can be found at his own website In 2023 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from New Zealand Primary Industries. 

Keith is known for his independence, combined with a willingness to take on controversial issues, and an ability to make complex issue understandable. 

​​​​​​​1pm  Drone Demonstration with Aerolab

1.15pm  Hereheretau Station                   
              'Team Culture' - Panel Discussion

Hereheretau Station employs six full time staff, with a progressive shepherd growth programme that echoes the purpose of the Māori Soldiers Trust.  The Station is proactively involved in the local community helping with projects such as the restoration and protection of the Whakakī Lagoon and supporting the local primary school.

2pm    Beef + Lamb NZ Station Challenge           
Teams of 3 members from an East Coast station, will compete for the inaugural Station Challange trophy