Murray looks forward to co-operative’s future

Farmlands Director Murray Donald will step down after this year’s Annual General Meeting at Hamilton.

Murray joins Farmlands Chairman Lachie Johnstone in standing down from the Farmlands Board of Directors this year. Neither seat on the Board of Directors will be filled, as Farmlands will move into the revised governance structure approved by shareholders at last year’s AGM.

Murray says his decision to stand down supports the shareholder vote to add an Independent Director to the Farmlands Board. He says he is a supporter of the Board structure change, as it brings a more diverse mix of skill sets to the co-operative. “There are challenges facing farmers across a number of different areas, including environmental matters and increased compliance,” Murray says. “They are impacting on the agricultural sector, particularly sheep, beef and dairy farms. I feel these changes are going to have an effect on where Farmlands goes in the future.” Murray says the major focus for Farmlands during his 2 years with the Board has been the business transformation programme, Braveheart.  He acknowledges the programme has been more about people and processes than technology and as a shareholder,

Murray looks forward to seeing how the organisation transforms. “There are opportunities to be captured from a national organisation with such a large footprint,” he says. A Kellogg Scholar, Murray has more than 20 years of experience as a Director of several organisations throughout the agricultural sector in New Zealand and much of this has been with co-operatives. Murray is a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Directors, Councillor and member of the Audit and Risk Committee for the Southern Institute of Technology and is also a Trustee and Chairman of the Audit and Risk Committee for the Agri-Women’s Development Trust.

Murray is the current Chairman of Mount Linton Station Ltd, a 95,000 stock unit property in Western Southland and is a former Director of both Farmers Mutual group (FMG) and Alliance Group.

Over the past 25 years, Murray and his wife Carolynn developed and expanded their Southland lamb and beef farming operation from 220ha to the current 455ha. “I’ve been around long enough to know good governance pays dividends,” he says. “The passion that a lot of Farmlands employees and managers have for the organisation has been a highlight in my time with the Board. They are committed to their local communities. That’s seen as a strength that the organisation can build on going forward.” In addition to Murray and Lachie’s decisions to stand down, it was announced in June that Rob Hewett will take over Chair of the Farmlands Board following this year’s AGM.