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On Thursday, Agritech New Zealand hosted its 2020 Annual General Meeting.

In keeping with Level 2 restrictions, the AGM was hosted over ZOOM. Because of that and because the organisation’s membership is so widely dispersed across New Zealand, it guaranteed a large turnout.

I was able to talk about the achievements of the past 12 months and some of the opportunities and challenges for the next 12. Given the effect of COVID-19, it will inevitably impact on some of our operational planning. Proposed NZ agritech delegation visits to the US and Ireland / UK later in the year have already been cancelled. Other in person events will almost certainly replaced by ZOOM.

The 2020 AGM marked in some ways the end of an era. As we moved from an Establishment Council to an elected Executive Council, it was time to say au revoir to a number of Council members who had been part of Agritech New Zealand’s organisational structure since Day 1.

I would like to pay a personal tribute to the support and energy they provided Jacqui, myself and the wider management team since our formation in May 2018. Without it, Agritech New Zealand would not be where it is today. They include;

  • Brendan Mahar – NZTE
  • Brendan O’Connell – PAANZ
  • Dean Tilyard – Sprout Accelerator
  • Mark Ennis – Fonterra
  • Rob Heebink – Gallagher
  • Sarah Hindle – Tech Futures Lab (Interim Agritech New Zealand Chair)
  • Simon Yarrow – Callaghan Innovation
  • Simon Neale – Spark

At Thursday’s AGM, we welcomed the newly elected and appointed members of the Executive Council. They include;

  • Dion Cawood – LIC
  • Daniel O’Brien – AWS
  • Peter Nation – National Fieldays
  • Sophie Rebbeck – Lincoln Agritech
  • Dan Bloomer – Landwise
  • Kenneth Irons – Precision Farming

There remain four additional positions to be appointed

  • Government
  • Practitioner
  • Iwi Rep
  • Independent

There was considerable interest in the Executive Council elections and I would like to thank the 19 different individuals and organisations nominated for the 1 available Major Corporate and 1 available SME position. It spoke volumes for just where the organisation is today.

Looking ahead, the recent Budget announcement of $11.4M funding to support the delivery and execution of the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan (ITP) remains a core focus for the organisation. We are currently looking at establishing working groups to support the 3 High Impact Projects and 6 workstreams contained within the ITP recommendations.

I’ll be publishing updates on the progress as soon as I can.