Partnership to support science-led solutions

A landmark agreement has been signed between Farmlands Co-operative, AgResearch and Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research. The partnership aims to effect change within the food and fibre sector via their combined strengths and across a series of projects.

On 19th June, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Farmlands Chief Executive Officer Peter Reidie, AgResearch Acting Chief Executive Tony Hickmott and Manaaki Whenua Chief Executive Officer Richard Gordon.

“As the largest farmer-owned rural supplies co-operative in New Zealand our focus is on providing shareholders with expertise when they need it. Which is why we’re delighted to team up with two of our country’s leading names in agricultural and environmental science, innovation and land management,” Peter Reidie says.

“By collaborating, we are in an even stronger position to understand the present and future concerns of farmers and growers on a national scale, and to act on improvements.”

AgResearch Acting Chief Executive Tony Hickmott says the partnership’s value will lie in its enduring impact.

“This is a great opportunity to leverage our combined strengths and provide Farmlands’ 70,000-plus shareholders with science-led solutions,” Tony says.

Manaaki Whenua Chief Executive Officer Richard Gordon agrees.

“The partnership helps connect the science with farmers, for mutual benefit. It will help to make sure we are conducting the right science so that farmers get the information they need to be competitive and sustainable,” Richard says.

Key outputs will fall within the cultural principles of Te Ao Māori and the partnership will come to life via a series of projects. With support from Our Land and Water National Science Challenge, the first collaboration between the trio is the ‘How to Enact Environmental Change’ research project which will take place this year and include a stakeholder workshop.

Peter says COVID-19 reminded New Zealand that agricultural industry is critical to the growth and prosperity of the nation.

“There are still changes for us to navigate, challenges for us to solve and ways we can do better. This partnership is a bridge to enable us to continue to be great at farming, in a way the world demands,” he says.

The Farmlands CEO says that engaging with shareholders, primary sector partners and Māori will be central to the work. It is expected the projects will help farmers to better assess possible land-use changes and develop mitigation and adaptation strategies.