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B+LNZ appoints female head

B+LNZ appoints female head
New Beef and Lamb NZ chairperson Kate Acland is pushing for a unified approach.

A Mt Somers farmer says her appointment as Beef and Lamb NZ’s first female chairperson is the latest step in increasing representation in the sector.
Kate Acland, from Mt Somers Station, is excited about her new role, but says she is just one of many women to hold a leadership position in the agriculture sector.
“There’s a bunch of amazingly talented women in leadership roles across our sector,” Acland says.
“The head of Deer Industry NZ and the head of Irrigation NZ are both female, for example.
"It just shows the maturity of the sector.”
Acland has held the position of deputy chairperson since June last year and holds a bachelor’s degree in viticulture and oenology (the study and knowledge of wines), and a master’s degree in applied science, majoring in farm management consultancy from Lincoln University.
Acland developed her own vineyard, winery, and processing and export business in Marlborough before moving to Mid Canterbury to join her husband David on his property.
The couple runs 30,000 stock units on Mt Somers station, with a mix of beef, sheep, deer, and an 850-dairy cow unit.
The station also runs a standalone honey operation of 400 hives that produce manuka, honeydew and clover honey from 500 hectares of native vegetation and beech forest.
Acland replaces Andrew Morrison, whose five-year term concluded at the end of the board’s annual meeting in New Plymouth in March.
“It was just circumstance and experience as to who was the right person for the job within the board.
“We have quite a broad range of enterprises.
“I think that we are quite diversified in what we do and that helps, as well as a bit of business experience,” Acland said.
Farm policy changes and incoming regulations have seen some farmers express their frustration at industry bodies, with Morrisons’ ousting from the southern director seat seen as a sign by some that farmers are looking for a change in direction from Beef and Lamb NZ.
“It’s pretty tough out there for farmers at the moment.
“It’s the uncertainty and the scale and pace of the government regulation that’s coming.
“Farmers are not anti-change.
“We have been changing and adapting for 100 years.
“That’s what makes farming so great.
“But we are faced with poorly thought out regulations that are having perverse effects on what we do.”
A more unified approach is needed, Acland said.
“There are all these splinter groups that have popped up and generally everyone who has a voice out there wants the same stuff.
“If we all want a strong future for our sector, then we need to be together on this. There is a real risk of fragmentation and then we are all a lot weaker.
“I’m a big believer in multiple voices giving the same message.
“ I think that’s where we are strongest.”
Acland said that while a seat at the table is not the goal, it is the best way to ensure a good outcome for farmers.
“If we can’t get the right deal, we’ll walk away.
“But right now, I think staying there and pushing hard is the best way forward,” Acland said.

  • By Claire Inkson