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Agritech News: On tour with the ITP

Tuesday, March 14th, 2023

Kia Ora,

We are half-way through the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan (ITP) Connect Tour and it’s been fantastic to meet so many of you in person. It’s events like this that remind me how much we all missed out on during the lockdown years and I’m thankful to be back on the road and engaging in discussion with similar, but different, clusters around the country.

It is our Membership that enables us to draw in the Government focus on programs like the Agritech ITP and other activities, thereby advancing the sector for everyone. We encourage anyone that is involved in technology, science, research or other services applied to the agriculture sector to get in touch and join us as we accelerate the agritech industry. 

If you missed out on attending our in-person sessions we will be running a webinar on Wednesday 5 April. Register here.

Brendan O’Connell
Chief Executive, AgriTechNZ

Welcome to our new Members

At AgriTechNZ we have a wide and growing Membership base that spans the entire ecosystem. We’d like to send a warm welcome to the latest members to join our community.

Well Balanced – Well Balanced are a team of New Zealand investors focused on growth in domestic and international markets for agribusiness, necessary technology, property, building and construction and energy. 

Tnue – Tnue customises fertiliser delivery solutions to achieve optimal Nutrient Use Efficiency (NUE) through the manufacture of Control Release Membrane (CRM) and the application of the CRM to the fertiliser granule.

Air Vision NZ Ltd – Air Vision NZ is a small family-owned business located in Levin specialising in drone services including mapping, surveying and inspections.

Volly Solutions – Volly Solutions are a small family-owned business based in Morrinsville, Hamilton offering  farm mapping, aerial imagery and other drone-based services as well as digital farm solutions.

Join the Agritech ecosystem and become a member

For latest news and events read the full newsletter here: Agritech News: On tour with the ITP

Posted in Newsletter, AgriTechNZ News

AgriTechNZ News: Meri Kirihimete

Thursday, December 15th, 2022

During 2022 there has been hard-won growth in our industry. Our members and sector partners continue to inspire us with their drive to grow and improve. 

Despite difficult trade conditions, we’ve seen impressive organic growth, acquisitions by our mature businesses, capability and knowledge growth across our research groups, and the emergence of many more startup businesses.

Perhaps even more impressively, we have noticed increasing ecosystem citizenship behaviour through collaborative approaches, collective action and social exchanges. For example, indirect actions include  supporting the development of others in our community and paying it forward. In a country that has a small, vibrant agritech market, these behaviours will help create even greater prosperity and impact from the agritech industry.

We remain committed to passionately advocating on behalf of our community and fostering collaborative practice wherever we can. During the year we hosted eight Member Connect Events, a Parliamentary Dinner and three International Virtual Summits. We also championed the continued Government partnership approach to our sector andmade two Government Submissions. This year we launched the 
Baseline of Digital Adoption in Primary Industries, participated in the inaugural Fieldays Digital Futures Hub, multiple Advisory Groups and commented frequently on the important topics.

Special thanks to the hardworking AgriTechNZ and NZTech teams, our wise and generous Executive Council, our awesome Members, plus our collaborative industry and Government partners. I wish you all a regenerative holiday season!

On the road again

We’re back on the road from early February! Our Agritech Connect Tour will share updates and gather your valuable input on the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan and more. You’ll learn more about  our tools, resources and 2023 plans. Our tour is the ideal opportunity to connect, learn and influence.  Stay tuned for more information, but until then, please save these dates: 2 February in Christchurch, 8 February in Hamilton, 10 February in Tauranga, 14 February in Auckland, 2 March in Wellington, 7 March in Nelon, 9 March in Dunedin and 15 March in Palmerston North. Further dates and locations to be announced.

Coming soon… even more agritech news!

In 2023, we’re launching a new channel with Farmers Weekly, curating agritech industry news. Keep updated on agritech solutions in our industry that contributes $1.6 billion towards New Zealand’s economy with potential growth of $10 billion over the next decade.

Preview here

How fabulous was Fieldays?

Fieldays was certainly a success for AgriTechNZ with plenty of authentic opportunities to connect with the industry. Our sold out events received overwhelmingly positive feedback. The Women in Agriculture session hosted in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) was especially popular and we intend to repeat it. The opportunity to meet and discuss sector interests had some unexpected consequences. For example, our position in the Pavilion at the inaugural Fieldays Digital Futures Hub meant we were able to guide visitors to  specific exhibitors of  interest. Planning is well underway for Fieldays 2023, 14-17 June. The Fieldays Innovation Awards were also a great success, and applications are now open for next year.

Read more

Join our first 2023 webinar: Global Insights – How can New Zealand respond to overseas trends?

Meet 2022 Nuffield scholar Lucie Douma, who shares key agritech insights following her international study tour exploring environmental and farming contexts. This year, Lucie spent four months visiting farmers, growers and support organisations across Europe, North America and Australia. Join us to hear Lucie’s key agritech insights including water challenges in North America, labour shortages, corporatising farm trends, food security, soil understanding and knowledge, plus the corn belt and the role of genetically modified organisms (GMO).  She will also discuss the impact of production and growth trends for New Zealand and how we position ourselves on the global stage.

Register here

Evocative EvokeAg

AgriFutures Australia are hosting the next agrifood tech event in Adelaide, 20-21 February. We’ll be there to connect  the ecosystem of farmers, innovators, researchers, companies and investors. We highly recommend you join us and strengthen our Trans-Tasman representation. Once you’ve secured your tickets please register for Callaghan Innovation’s Australian Market Immersion to ensure you gain the most from your visit.

Register here

Blue economy interests

As part of the Agritech ITP, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) and AgriTechNZ are gauging levels of interest and commitment to aquatech developments. Do you know any local companies who have innovative solutions in aquaculture or in an adjacent technology/sector and would benefit from a top quality market entry accelerator? There is potential for a New Zealand cohort to participate in an international aquaculture market entry accelerator. We are currently seeking recommendations from our networks for prospective cohort participants. The accelerator will be delivered by global aquaculture specialists Hatch in partnership with NZTE.

Join the Q&A zoom session on Tuesday 20 December at 3.30pm.

Please email with your recommendations by 22 December.  

Meri Kirihimete me te Hape Nū Ia!

Chief Executive, on behalf of the Executive Council of AgriTech New Zealand

PS: Please don’t forget! We love to share your Member news and events. If you’re doing something cool, please let us know!

Read more: AgriTechNZ News: Meri Kirihimete

Posted in Newsletter, AgriTechNZ News

Leveraging data for environmental initiatives

Wednesday, October 26th, 2022

AgriTechNZ and Rezare Systems are working with the Ministry for Primary Industries on a project that aims to align the way we describe and identify data elements, so that farmers and their ecosystem can participate in a range of industry initiatives without reinventing the wheel for each initiative.

Why are we doing this?

You will be aware of the central and regional government and industry initiatives around farm systems, integrated farm planning, freshwater farm planning, and emissions reporting.

Each of these initiatives leverages data about farms and catchments, and each initiative rightfully has its own data requirements and data dictionary that align with regulatory or supply chain requirements.

AgriTech New Zealand, the Ministry for Primary Industries, and the Data Interoperability Working Group recognise that there are benefits in aligning the data definitions in these initiatives. Alignment will reduce the confusion that could otherwise about “similar but different” terms. Alignment will also allow farmers and their organisations and advisors to re-use data more effectively.

What are we doing?

This is not a huge project. Most initiatives and programmes already have existing glossaries or data dictionaries that could be aligned. Organisations also have their own data schemas and experts who know how data elements should be interpreted. The opportunity is to bring these together.

AgriTech New Zealand and MPI have retained Rezare Systems (who previously worked on the NZ Farm Data Standards) to engage with data stewards (service providers and software companies), and obtain existing glossaries or data dictionaries, to analyse where they can be aligned. The outcome will be an updated set of definitions, made available as open source, and planned to be integrated into other evolving initiatives such as Integrated Farm Planning and LINK Aotearoa (previously called LINK 2025).

The timeline looks like this:

  • October 2022 – briefing workshops, engagement with the appropriate experts in your team
  • November 2022 – analysis work to align the existing glossaries and produce a cohesive cross-initiative glossary
  • December 2022 – publish the resulting data dictionary or glossary for feedback

Could you be involved?

We are looking for people with informed opinions on the definition and interpretation of data fields used to support environmental initiatives. These definitions include spatial, livestock, crop, water, or fertiliser activities.

We are particularly interested in talking to people in organisations with their own definitions, glossaries, or database schemas. If this could be you or someone in your organisation, please get in contact at

Posted in General, AgriTechNZ News

Decade of disruption and the age of agritech

Sunday, October 2nd, 2022

My first international visit since the pandemic has been an insightful reminder that while we’ve been working on agritech growth strategies, so has the rest of the world!

Most of my time has been spent touring the United Kingdom’s (UK) agritech centres of excellence. This highlighted the level of local investment in agritech in addition to the upheaval and opportunities present.

In 2015, the UK was one of the first countries to have a national agritech strategy. Since then, it has been funded by Innovate UK with significant investment in four agritech centres, each with their own speciality:  

  • Agri-EPI Centre concentrates on engineering and precision agriculture, 
  • Agrimetrics develops data capabilities
  • CHAP focuses on crop health and protection 
  • CIEL is the centre for innovation excellence in livestock. 

These centres for agricultural innovation are a collaborative model between industry and government.  The aim is to help the UK commericalise innovation, encourage inward investment and improve farming practice.

During the last fortnight,  I’ve met with key people from each of these groups and continue to deepen our network of networks for agritech innovators. Many New Zealand companies are already establishing a  position in the UK and benefiting from access to the significant resources of these groups.

What I have found most interesting in the UK, is the relatively high level of technology capability, but low level of domestic technology adoption.  Within that dynamic lies great opportunity for collaboration between the UK and New Zealand agritech innovators both of whom work in different domestic environments and have shared global aspirations.

During my visit, local commentators described the factors contributing towards  a ‘decade of disruption’. In addition to the global challenge of food production in a climate crisis and the food system impacts from the war in Ukraine, UK farmers are also facing the phase out of a Basic Payment Scheme (BPS).  Until recently, this has subsidised their operations based on the area they farm. This is being replaced with supports for three areas of policy impact (productivity, environmental outcomes and landscape/air/water quality) but at lower levels than the BPS.

Interestingly, the devolution of agricultural policy to each country in the UK will see a divergence in how support is applied;.

  • England will focus on public good – improving landscape, air and water quality improvements
  • Scotland will focus on reduced emissions from agriculture
  • Wales will focus on public good, with an agriculture focus
  • Northern Ireland focus on sustainable productivity improvements

This is a notable period of change in the UK. Approximately 40 percent of farmers have only been profitable with the BPS and a further 15 percent who are not profitable even with the BPS. Farmers will require significant adjustments to their practices. Like many other countries, they will be searching for the optimal sweet spot combining  productivity and environmental improvements. Both will  require a new suite of tools and capabilities.

Earlier this year, the New Zealand Agritech Industry Transformation Plan (AITP) supported an Agritech Story campaign in the Farmers Guardian. I was delighted to receive positive feedback during several meetings in the UK and Ireland about how it  struck a chord in the market.  Later this year, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) and the AITP team will collaborate again on another campaign.  Yes, the primary audience is UK farmers, but it’s worth noting the whole ecosystem pays attention and the potential for technology collaborations is significant.

Certainly, local details may differ, but the common challenges of farming in a climate crisis are shared. This is truly the age of agritech as farmers and growers seek innovations necessary to navigate disruption. It’s also true that neither the UK nor New Zealand can justify substantial investments in agritech developments without taking those solutions to international markets. 

The connections strengthened on this visit will continue to be nurtured when the UK Department of International Trade (UK DIT) visit New Zealand with a cohort of UK agritech innovators for Fieldays 2022..

We look forward to continuing to develop and collaborate on successful projects  with all our UK partners.

And for our Members, we will continue to provide opportunities to connect, promote and advance our ecosystem. This type of engagement is just one example supporting our goal to connect our Members and participate in opportunities for economic growth.

Brendan O’Connell

Posted in AgriTechNZ News

Powered by Place: Growing Great Agritech Businesses

Sunday, July 17th, 2022

Enjoy more inspiring agritech stories!  Next, we talk to three local innovators about their growth journeys. We learn how they navigated very different strategies to thrive on the global stage.

Building a global business takes more than a bright idea!  A resilient attitude, compelling mission, great team and a strategic approach to fundraising are part of the growth puzzle.  Kiwi innovators CropX’s Bridgit Hawkins, SnapIT’s Chris Rodley and Gallagher’s Lisbeth Jacobs explain how they’re growing great agritech businesses.  View now.

The X Factor

CropX’s Bridgit Hawkins didn’t purposely set out to start a company!  She grew up on a sheep and beef farm outside Taupo and qualified with an agricultural science degree.  While working in business development roles in the primary sector, she was frustrated at the disconnect between research and development, and what farmers were doing. 

Once Bridgit partnered with Massey University to develop sensor technology she soon realised having a great product and good customers in New Zealand wasn’t enough. 

“We got to the point where it was difficult to grow organically at the rate we needed… we realised that we could ruin ourselves and the company by trying to go global,” explains CropX’s Bridgit Hawkins who decided to look for a strategic partner. Read more.

Acquire and conquer! 

SnapIT is another New Zealand company with huge ambitions.  The company has come a long way from Dave Rodley’s garage where his sons Chris and Andrew first tinkered with webcams.  Soon, their high definition cameras caught the attention of tourism operators, the MetService, TV3 weather and construction sites.  But it was Chris who stumbled across an opportunity that changed the direction of the company. 

“I was up a ladder installing a camera when the CEO of one of the largest fishing companies in New Zealand walked past and said, ‘Can you put that camera on a boat?’” says Chris. 

Soon they were in discussions with Callaghan Innovation to develop a marine-proof, AI enabled camera and within ten days they had pitched to ten companies and haven’t looked back since! Read more.

Joining the dots

Gallagher is one of New Zealand’s largest and most successful agritech companies, founded in 1938 to commercialise the world’s first electric fence. 

Since then, the Hamilton-based company has been helping farmers harness the power of hardware, software and more recently data, to make their jobs more efficient. 

“I come from Belgium, another small country and I’m impressed by how close a lot of people in the New Zealand agritech sector are to the land because they grew up on a farm.  There’s an incredible amount of innovation in New Zealand.  What we lack sometimes is the inability to work together.  That’s what we’re looking to do at Gallagher,” Lisbeth Jacobs, Global General Manager Animal Management, Gallagher. Read more.

We’d love to hear your stories!

Is connection to the land important to you? What does ‘place’ mean to you and your business? It might be where you grew up, where your business is based, or the unique characteristics of the region you live in. 

We’d love to hear your stories to help inspire other Kiwi agritech entrepreneurs.  Please contact us.

Ngā mihiBrendan O’Connell

PS: Missed our earlier stories?  Discover Kiwis Going Global and The Future of Farming is Here!  View all our storytelling here.

Posted in AgriTechNZ News


Friday, July 1st, 2022

TIN’s third annual Agritech Insights Report offers significant analysis of New Zealand’s agricultural technology export sector.

AUCKLAND, 1 July 2022 – Technology Investment Network (TIN) has released its third annual New Zealand Agritech Insights Report, providing compelling analysis of the size and scope of the country’s leading Agritech export companies, along with a pipeline of promising Agritech companies.

Launched at an event at Waikato Innovation Park last night, the report provides a closer look into New Zealand’s agricultural technology sector based on data from TIN’s 2021 survey results, including size and significance, key export markets, investment opportunities, and a comprehensive directory of nearly 110 Pipeline Agritech companies — those from pre-revenue up to $3.5m revenue.

Agritech continues to be one of the biggest and most innovative sectors in the TIN200, New
Zealand’s 200 largest technology ‘exporters’. According to the 2021 TIN Report, it is a $1.6B industry, providing 11.4% of the TIN200 total revenue.

“The report celebrates the hard-won success and growth of the dynamic Agritech sector that plays to all the strengths of our historical reliance on farmers, horticulturalists, acquaculturalists and apiarists,” said Greg Shanahan, managing director of TIN.

“The Government’s multi-agency Agritech Industry Transformation Plan is focusing on growing the sector into a stronger economic contributor and increasing exports from the most innovative and forward-thinking Agritech companies,” Mr Shanahan added.

The industry is dominated by the Animal and Crop Health, Data Solutions and Post-Harvest sub-sectors, building on the international success of established New Zealand Agritech companies such as Gallagher Group, Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) and TOMRA Fresh Foods. Together, these three Waikato-based companies were responsible for just over 50% of the TIN200 Agritech revenue in 2021.

“This year’s TIN Agritech Insights Report is another marker in the growth of the sector, and importantly, the growing levels of collaboration that will enable still higher growth rates in coming years,” said Brendan O’Connell, Chief Executive of AgriTech New Zealand, the membership-funded organisation that promotes opportunities and challenges raised by Agritech.

Key statistics on the Agritech sector (taken from the TIN NZ Agritech Insights Report 2022, and based on 2021 TIN Report data)

  • 11.0% of TIN200 companies are Agritech firms, and together they generated $1.6B in revenue in 2021; 11.4% of the total TIN200 revenue
  • TIN200 Agritech companies generated $118m revenue growth; 8.2% of TIN200 growth
  • Total Agritech exports: $814.9.m (51.1% of total revenue)
  • Export growth: $49.0m (up 6.4% on 2020)
  • North America is the largest export market for Agritech (19.6% of total export revenue)
  • Average sector wage: $94,956 (TIN200 average wage: $88,005)
  • Average revenue per employee: $296,197 (TIN200 average: $243,570)
  • Investment in Sales and Marketing: $261.7m (up 7.1% on 2020)
  • Investment in Wages and Salary: $511.7m (up 8.6% on 2020)
  • Investment in R&D: $115.6.m (up 6.5% on 2020)
  • Average company age: 25 years (TIN200 average: 28 years)
  • 5-year CAGR: 14.6% (TIN200 5-year CAGR: 10.9%)
  • More than 5,000 people employed globally with 72.5% of those in New Zealand (3,910 people)
  • Auckland/Northland and Central North Island are the regions with the highest number of Agritech companies (29 each); followed by Hamilton/Waikato (24) and Canterbury/Upper South Island (21)

Key Agritech sector insights (taken from the TIN NZ Agritech Insights Report 2022, and based on 2021 TIN Report data)

  • High-tech Manufacturing continues to dominate the sector

New Zealand’s Agritech sector is primarily dominated by High-tech Manufacturing companies, which make up 13 of the 22 Agritech firms in the TIN200. High-tech Manufacturing firms, such as Gallagher Group, TOMRA Fresh Food and NDA Group, account for more than 70% of the sector’s revenue.

  • Opportunities for investment as global economy recovers

Investment in the Agritech sector followed the trend of investment levels across all sectors – a sharp spike in investment in 2021 as the global economy started to recover from the impact of COVID-19 in 2020. Agritech companies in this report (TIN200 and pipeline) received more than $15m of investment across 11 deals, which includes both seed and follow-on funding

  • Labour shortages creates opportunities and innovation

Domestic labour shortages and border restrictions have forced Agritech companies to look at automation and data integration to improve productivity and drive growth. This has created opportunities for a range of technologies, such as cow wearables, crop health and harvesting. The disruption to regular supply chains has also led to Agritech companies re-evaluating and streamlining their approach to search for more cost-effective alternatives.

The New Zealand Agritech Insights Report was commissioned by the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan (ITP), a partnership involving the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Ministry for Primary Industries, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, Callaghan Innovation and AgriTech NZ; with additional support from ASX, Hamilton City Council and NZ Growth Capital Partners.

About Technology Investment Network

Technology Investment Network (TIN) is a private company established in 1999 to facilitate the growth of the technology export sector in New Zealand. The company’s goal is to contribute to the New Zealand economy by supporting the growth of, large, sustainable, New Zealand based, global technology businesses.


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New Zealand Technology Investment Network Sponsors

Explore our programme, meet the speakers and register now to attend the 2022 Digital Trust Aotearoa Hui Taumata.

Posted in Media Release, AgriTechNZ News

Nominees for AgriTech New Zealand Executive Council

Thursday, June 16th, 2022

Proposed Nominees for AgriTech New Zealand Executive Council seats

Major Corporate Nominees

Ben Wakely, PwC NZ

The scope and pace of change being thrust on the food and fibre sector is overwhelming. Right now, we are facing some significant structural challenges that require strategic focus, action and urgency. I believe AgriTechNZ has a strong role to play in the interface between the public and private sectors, in influencing the direction of change. 

As an experienced strategy, transformation and commercial advisor with strong food and fibre sector experience, I have the expertise, insights and networks to support AgriTechNZ in making a difference for its members, for the sector and for Aotearoa. High quality governance will be essential to the organisation’s success.  I have relevant governance experience and am highly motivated to be part of an Executive Council that can make challenging decisions and bring the right perspectives on a range of complex issues.

View LinkedIn profile here

Blair Smith, LIC

I believe the crucial ingredient to success in our sector is collaboration. AgriTechNZ has shown itself to be a leader in this, creating connections and fostering a growing ecosystem within NZ and increasingly connecting that with the booming global agritech scene. I would be honoured to have the opportunity to directly support and influence that work as a member of the Executive Council. Currently I am CEO of Agrigate, a wholly owned subsidiary of LIC, where I lead a team developing apps and APIs that empower farmers by making it easy for them to connect and share data about their farms with the people and systems that need to know. 

I’m no stranger to farming having grown up on a sheep, beef & deer farm in the King Country where I still relish a weekend on the tractor cutting silage or helping dad draft lambs. Career wise I started out studying law, eventually completing a Masters degree where my thesis focused on emissions trading and agriculture. Environmental issues remain a big driver for me today; but having been introduced to the transformative power of technology while working at Fonterra I’m now more convinced that it’s technology not legal arguments that will solve problems and realise opportunities along our agricultural value chains – both on farm and on the plates of our customers. If successful I would draw strongly on my experience and networks to ensure AgriTechNZ continues to build an ecosystem of agritech innovators here in Aotearoa that can have a transformative impact globally.

View LinkedIn profile here

Iain Boyd, ANZCO Foods

For 15 years I’ve been working to assist NZ businesses to gain advantage through the use of technology. I’ve worked in a range of industry verticals & been fortunate enough to hold senior technology management positions in a number of organisations. My executive career has helped me gain a pragmatic and execution focussed approach to engaging stakeholders, making sure all views are heard in collaboration and furthering the mission of the entities I’ve worked with through strategic direction and partnership.

I believe AgriTech to be NZ’s next biggest export to the world. We have such an awesome community of innovators, inventors, entrepreneurs and creatives and we lead the world in our AgriTech solutions. If lucky enough to serve on the AgriTechNZ Executive Council I will work tirelessly to further the mission of AgriTechNZ driving stakeholder collaboration, leveraging my relevant networks & breaking down silos, engaging & leading digital strategy, promoting industry-wide initiatives and AgriTechNZ’s purpose, ensuring we have a data led approach to ensuring our work is getting the right outcome for member organisations.

View LinkedIn profile here

Sarah Adams, Gallagher Group

For the last 25 years I have worked in the agricultural industry bringing innovation into traditional agriculture to help the industry make some quantum shifts in productivity. With the introduction of technology, I have grown a number, of small start-up agricultural companies into substantial globally recognised businesses. Using innovation to create value added products and transitioning businesses from selling products to solutions has been key to the success. In my current position of Global Strategy and New Ventures Manager at Gallagher Animal Management I am introducing open innovation and digital technologies to help our customers solve some the largest challenges they are facing.  When not at work I am a ‘hands on’ farmer on our hill country sheep and beef property on north side of the Raglan Harbour. This ‘grass roots’ farming experience enables me to clearly understand the problems farmers are trying to solve.

My passion for revolutionising the agriculture sector and a desire to help forge closer collaboration and nurture talent within the agritech ecosystem are the drivers behind my nomination for the AgriTechNZ Executive Council. I believe my substantial networks in the global agritech ecosystem, ability to form collaborations, exploit opportunities and find innovative solutions to the challenges the industry faces are what I can bring to the Executive Council.

View LinkedIn profile here

Shivani Jagga, Microsoft New Zealand

I’m a sales and business management professional with 20+ years of experience. Working within Microsoft and leading the Agri sector has given me a deep understanding and appreciation of the challenges and opportunities faced by the New Zealand Agri Sector. I have a passion for the Agri Industry and making positive change and connecting Agriculture and Technology to strengthen NZ’s Primary Sector. I have led effective teams to deliver business outcomes, driven adoption of technology to enable business success, measured business success and led improvement initiatives with a strong focus on Sustainability for Agribusiness which is to accelerate our journey to a better future.

My work with Microsoft teams such as working with FarmLands, Silver Fern Farms, Zespri and LIC, deeply embedded into the agri-sector in New Zealand. I have worked on projects big and small to ensure that organisations are getting optimal results from their data. New Zealand is an innovative nation and having worked closely with some of the smartest and most agile Saas organisation and partners. This includes the impressive work of Pamu(opens in a new window) and Vodafone Teams Connect solution which in COVID times was able to create a nation of connected farmers coordinating 114 farms. And also Fusion5’s solutions with Primary(opens in a new window) ITO. From winegrowing to beekeeping, milking to horse-breeding, Primary ITO supports learners across the entire people, food and fibre sector, Fusion5 (opens in a new window)accelerated their transformation their outdated system into a modern tech platform. This means I have a strong grasp of what modern agritech customers need and require to thrive and something I would like to serve as being part of the Executive Council team. I look forward to serving on the AgritechNZ Council and being part of an amazing team.

View LinkedIn profile here

Tim Wixon, Bank of New Zealand

I founded and lead BNZ’s scaling Technology Industries portfolio of software, software-enabled, high-tech manufacturing, high-tech infrastructure and biotechnology businesses which numbers over 1500 clients and proposition delivered through a network of over 35 tech focussed bankers across New Zealand, with recent additions to the capital part of BNZ’s proposition (Capital, Connections, Capability at all stages of tech business’ lifecycles) being Revenue Based Financing and Project Scale Up.  I have been with BNZ for almost 8 years in frontline, leadership and strategy roles (all building BNZ’s technology industries offering), following an early career in securities law.  I’m a qualified barrister and solicitor, a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder and hold a Masters of Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship, along with degrees in law, finance and economics.

I would bring a strong understanding of technology business models, the technology industries, financing, banking and a wide lens across both agritech and non-agritech tech businesses across the New Zealand economy to AgriTechNZ. I am keen to join the AgriTechNZ Executive Council both to learn and to help shape (from an informed vantage point) and grow New Zealand’s agritech market and opportunity. New Zealand has a strong heritage in Agriculture and a technology industry that is going from strength to strength – AgriTech is a clear opportunity in relation to which NZ could lead the world, but, from observations during 8 years in the technology industries at BNZ, is an opportunity yet to be (fully) realised.

View LinkedIn profile here

Other Corporate Nominees

Jason Hanley, FarmIQ

I am a technology leader with a strong focus on product delivery. My career of over 20 years in technology has brought me to FarmIQ where I am passionate about solving problems for farmers through technology.  If elected I will bring my experience from many domains, from large corporates to start ups, across many roles from product management, agile consultancy, to executive leadership.  Only having been in the Agritech sector for just over 3 years I believe I will bring fresh perspectives and new voice to the council. I will also bring the passion I have for making NZ Inc and AgriTechNZ successful, not just in NZ, but on the world stage.

Collaboration across NZ Agritech and the primary industries is the only way that NZ and its agricultural communities are going to lean in to, meet, and exceed the increasing regulation and environmental commitments.  There is already a large among of activity across the industry looking to introduce rules, regulation, compliance, and if we work more closely together, we can achieve so much more in proving NZ Farming is already highly sustainable and environmentally focused. As a nation we are intrinsically linked to our whenua, we can be world leaders in demonstrating what it means to be responsible stewards of the land while delivering world leading primary industry products. I want to be part of that collaboration, and I want to be part of organisations that bring Agritech closer together.

View LinkedIn profile here

Mark Begbie, PlantTech Research Institute

I have spent my professional career working at the interface of new product introduction and scientific research, with the focus on delivering economic and societal impact.  It started with the realisation that I wanted to work on varied and impactful science, and that better suited me to R&D in the exploding telecoms market than a career in academic research.  With the telecoms bubble bursting, a new door opened in what is now called the Triple Helix space – where companies, Government, and research collaborate to create new opportunities.  It is the years spent in this space, first as a technologist then as a manager and a leader, that has given me direct experience of many models and activities across Europe – and led to the agritech sector here in New Zealand.  Supporting companies to create success through access to relevant and exploitable science outcomes and capabilities is what gets me going in the morning.

AgritechNZ is a great power for good.  I am a huge supporter of what it has achieved both domestically and internationally, and firmly believe that it has a key role to play in supporting the transformation of our sector in the face of the climate catastrophe and technological change that will never again be as slow as it is today.  I want to contribute my experience, gained internationally, to support AgritechNZ in supporting its members to flourish.  I will be an advocate for support of innovation and risk taking within the sector and with Government, to ensure they provide the support that will make the most difference.  I believe the Research Science and Innovation green paper consultation is a critical opportunity for us to leverage for positive change, and I would relish the opportunity to put my effort behind AgritechNZ as we navigate this process.

View LinkedIn profile here

SMES & Startup Nominees

Andrew Cooke, Rezare Systems

I am one of the founders and Managing Director of Rezare Systems (now part of the Map of Agriculture Group). My background is in agricultural research, livestock recording, and data interoperability. Many of you will know me from our collaborative work in defining open specifications for data interoperability in the agricultural sector. My work takes me across agricultural technology in New Zealand, Australia, and internationally. I try to be very collaborative and enjoy introducing people and businesses to each other, looking for ways to help sector businesses be successful and contribute to the profitability and sustainability of the farming and growing sector. 

I intend to bring that experience to the AgriTechNZ Executive Council: supporting the AgriTechNZ members who engage with me to share and represent their views, and bringing my experience in agricultural tech, adoption, and data challenges to AgriTech New Zealand’s projects and strategy.

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Emma Buchanan, Soter

I am the Managing Director of Soter, a provider of Farm Environmental Plans including Greenhouse Gas advice and resource consents. I have sat with farmers for nearly a decade, learning how they manage data and navigate the compliance burden. With my experience managing data warehouse projects I have combined my farming and data geekdoms to create software to automate much of the process for them.

I can bring to the AgriTech board a background in project and data management, and day to day on farm learning to inform advice to Government and the organisation with real-world, real-time experience. I hold a Bachelor of Business Studies, Post Grad Dip in Resource and Environmental Planning, the Advanced Sustainable Nutrient Management Certificate with Agricultural Greenhouse Gas endorsement. I am an HBRC, BOPRC and WRC Approved provider of FEMPs, Dairy NZ approved provider of Sustainable Milk Plans and I have facilitated workshops for the HBRC, HB Fruit Growers, Beef and Lamb NZ and the Deer Industry. I have worked on horticulture and dairy farms, and until recently owned a sheep, beef and cropping farm in Central Hawkes Bay.

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Gareth Hill, Cropsy

I have been passionate about agritech for so long, the term agritech didn’t exist. I spent over a decade at a CRI developing disease forecasting and decision support systems for the kiwifruit and wine sectors, and preaching the potential of data and technology to anyone and everyone. During a comparatively brief stint at a data consultancy, I became the science advisor for Cropsy, an agritech start-up working in the wine sector. I have since confirmed to myself that agritech is where I want to be and have taken on a permanent role at Cropsy managing the research and innovation programmes.

My mix of biology, data science, and strategy roles over the years would be a huge benefit to the AgriTechNZ Executive Council as I can understand the problems both the agritech and agricultural sectors face from a number of perspectives. The key perspective I am missing is that of the grower, but as a huge proponent of human-led design, co-innovation, and simply talking to people, I see this as an opportunity. I am looking forward to working closely with growers to understand their perspectives and ensuring their needs are baked into agritech solutions from day one to start shifting the dial from technology push to solution pull.

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Kenneth Irons, Agsorted

The main purpose of AgriTechNZ is to create an environment in which its members can thrive, achieving their own business goals while also delivering value to farmers and growers and others in the food and fibre value chains.  Creating that environment means building relationships with Government Ministers, Directors General, Ambassadors and High Commissioners, Levy Bodies, Banks and Fund Managers, Iwi Leaders, Universities and CRIs, and with sister agritech organisations in key overseas markets – and then based on those relationships; developing and implementing policies and projects that improve AgriTechNZ’s members’ access to capital, talent and customers.  As the SME representative and also as AgritechNZ Chair over this past two-year term, with the ITP and many other strategic initiatives, I’ve built these relationships, helping the Executive Council, our CEO and members create a vibrant, respected, growing agritech sector, delivering value through better data standards, improved interoperability, and increased farmer appetite for digital adoption.

While we have many tangible results to celebrate as evidenced by growth across our SME sector of an impressive 30%, and growing membership with high retention rates, there remains much more to gain across all member categories, but especially for the SME and Start-Up category. So I invite and appreciate your support for a second of two permitted terms, so we can capitalise on the hard-won relationships built.  With significant NZ Government support as evidenced in the recent budget announcements of $339M Climate Action Fund, $200M Regional Innovation Fund and $100M Business Growth Fund, we can not only accelerate our members’ NZ growth rates, but also achieve more in offshore markets too.  We have a strong relationship with Agritech Australia who share our appetite to achieve more by presenting a combined voice to world markets, and untapped opportunities with key countries including Ireland, Israel, UK and more.

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Matt Flowerday, GPS-it

I am the founder of GPS-it, a specialist mapping company that has been in business for 20+ years. As an early innovator in the agritech space, I’m passionate about agritech and always looking for opportunities to be involved in growing and telling the NZ Agritech Story to the world. I’ve spent many years travelling overseas to look at emerging technology and how it can be applied or, in some cases, how it could be done better!.. and firmly believe there is a significant opportunity for NZ agritech businesses that has yet to be unlocked.

I have a strong governance background as a chartered member of the Institute of Directors, with strengths in strategy and technology, which I will bring to the Executive Council. I hold several directorships across a range of Agri-focused businesses, I grew up on a dairy farm and I am a kiwifruit grower, so I have a unique insight into a range of challenges and opportunities across the primary and tech sectors.

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Melissa Baer, Webtools Agritech

I am interested in serving on the AgriTechNZ Executive Council because of the great work they do, but also the exciting opportunity I see for New Zealand in this space. An industry full of passion and commitment and deeply seeded in the psyche (and GDP) of New Zealanders, it’s what we (as a Canadian now New Zealander) are made of. I have come from a very non tech background and have made the full leap to technology. I’m emboldened and excited for what these powerful tools can bring to the sector. More than that I’m excited by the people who are creating and using the tools more than anything, because they are just tools after all and it’s up to us how we decide to use them and for what purpose.

A bit about my background, I grew up rurally on a small farm and like many small farms in North America we were always trying to make it commercially viable. I then went on to build a variety of businesses from marketing of farm products to not for profit food businesses to agriculture tourism and even agriculture education programs. I have experience in every business model across the supply chain, from growing through to end consumer retail. I am the CEO and Co-Founder of Webtools Agritech here in New Zealand, serve on the NZTech board and am actively involved in mentoring young tech entrepreneurs around Christchurch’s eco system. I bring a slightly different lens to the conversation having come from Waterloo Ontario Canada, where tech boomed during the Blackberry era and we saw the merging of agriculture and tech at that time due to the proximity of agriculture to the city. Ultimately, I came to New Zealand out of my love of rugby and agriculture. I hope I can be a contribution to the sector that has given me so much and create opportunities for New Zealand and New Zealanders.

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Peter Nation, NZ National Fieldays Society

I have been an AgriTechNZ Council member since June 2020. I have been involved directly in the New Zealand Agritech sector for some 18 years and using technology on farm for most of my lifetime. I feel I have a good understanding of the sector, the participants and the opportunities the sector has for future growth.

The industry is being driven to adopt technologies due to efficiencies, cost and supply of labour, while also wanting to meet safety and traceability needs of our global consumers. Supported by AgriTechNZ and its members the opportunities are immense and exciting. I am happy to be re-standing for the Council, to build on the success over the past 2 years.

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Robert Ford, Fellows Ford Consulting

Kia Ora, my name is Rob Ford and I currently have a consultancy specialising in assisting businesses in the Primary sector more specifically around Agri & Food tech. The last 16 years of my career have been the most rewarding working in the Primary Sector. Firstly, I worked for LIC (Livestock Improvement) holding several General Management positions then moved to Pamu (nee Landcorp) and took up the role of GM Innovation, Environment and Technology.  Post Pamu I headed to a small Software Development company based in Tauranga called Cucumber but after suffering a serious illness was forced to relinquish this role to focus on my health. Thankfully I am fully fit, recovered and now working on my consultancy.

In applying for this role on the Executive Council I believe I would bring a wide range of experiences understanding the development of products and solutions for the sector. I have been involved in initiatives such as Farm Software (MINDA & Farm IQ), to Farm Automation (Protrack & Dairy Automation Ltd), Foodtech (Sheep and Deer Milk). In all cases this has involved product development all the way through to commercialisation. I have also held governance roles for the roll out of the RBI (Rural Broadband Initiative), Farm IQ, Dairy Automation and LIC Farm Automation. I am currently a member of the Directors Institute. I would sincerely appreciate your review and support of my application on the AgriTechNZ Executive Council for the SME/Startup position.

View LinkedIn profile here

Victoria Kennedy, Sprout Agritech

As Sprout Operations and Partnership Manager I develop and execute New Zealand’s specialist AgriFoodTech Accelerator. Sprout’s core reason for existing is to create backable start-ups, by building capabilities and providing entrepreneurs with tools and contacts. My work is creating a strong cohort of start-ups, and building a community of corporate partners, mentors, research institutes and investors, so they can work together to turn their vision into a backable, scalable global technological solution for the food and fibre sector.

Having managed, designed, and executed events across Europe for New Zealand Winegrowers. I understand the strength of an industry collaborating to build a united brand to represent New Zealand. Through my role at Sprout, the team and I are in a unique position where we enable cross-industry collaboration. I believe building a sustainable AgriFoodTech ecosystem through collaboration will enable effective development, growth and success of New Zealand Agritech. I am excited to join the Council, and add value to the AgriTechNZ thriving and fast-growing ecosystem using my capabilities and network.

View LinkedIn profile here

Further information on our Annual Meeting and Executive Council Elections is available here

Posted in AgriTechNZ News

Looming global food shortage highlights NZ’s role in climate action

Tuesday, June 14th, 2022

As a significant global food supplier, changes in New Zealand food systems may soon have substantial impacts.

New Zealand can feed 40 million people, or five percent of the diet of 800 million people with high quality food, AgriTechNZ chief executive Brendan O’Connell says.

However, the food supply impact from the Ukrainian war shows how production changes in one region or country impacts on others, he says.

Global food prices continue to strengthen as shortages loom for basic foods such as grains. This means there will also be a shortage of carbohydrates to feed livestock, ANZ research says.

“While this won’t directly impact New Zealand food production systems, it will impact our competitors who rely on grain to produce beef and milk,” O’Connell says.

“These impacts show how our global food systems are interconnected. A change in one part of the system will impact others, often with unintended consequences.

“The global food system is made up of makers and takers and changes in how food comes from makers will force takers to source elsewhere, there are always mouths to feed.

“New Zealand production systems need to reduce their emissions and any changes in the food supply capability will need to be backfilled from some other system.

“This could be a worse climate outcome for Aotearoa and the planet. So, if our intent is to positively impact the climate, we have to think at a global scale and consider the net emissions result, not just local optimisation.

“Agritech’s role is to make the improvements and efficiencies necessary to both reduce emissions and continue producing.

“New Zealand needs to have a global impact on this issue because there is no such thing as a local atmospheric greenhouse. That means we need innovations to enable change here in New Zealand and in other markets.

“It is only by addressing that larger problem that we will enable the best technologies, through bigger scale and investment.”

This month, He Waka Eke Noa delivered its recommendations for pricing agricultural emissions. The government is expected to formally adopt these recommendations in December.

Earlier in June, the Emissions Reduction Plan included an announcement to develop a Centre for Climate Action to commercialise critical emissions reduction technologies. The scene is being set for New Zealand’s contribution locally and globally.

For further information contact Brendan O’Connell on 021 369740 or NZTech’s media specialist Make Lemonade NZ editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188

Posted in AgriTechNZ News

Shared challenges and positive growth

Thursday, June 9th, 2022

AgriTechNZ recently attended dinner in Wellington with the Hon Stuart Nash, Minister for Economic and Regional Development.  It was a special opportunity to highlight the importance of agritech in supporting New Zealand’s economic growth.      

Minister Nash acknowledged the global challenges for the food and fibre sector including meeting new environmental standards and climate extremes.

But we’re seeing that our people are responding with ingenuity.  Our agritech sector is developing innovative solutions for the primary sectors in New Zealand and the world, increasing their productivity and sustainability,” says Minister Nash.

“From pastoral farming and dairy to arable cropping, horticulture and fresh produce, viticulture and aquaculture, and more recently digital technologies, we’ve made a name for ourselves doing just about everything you can imagine.”

The Minister was particularly supportive of the role AgriTechNZ can have in telling these stories both locally and internationally.

“The global opportunities for New Zealand from agritech are enormous, particularly if we focus on international markets and tell our stories well” he says.

Minister Nash also
previewed TIN Agritech Research showing the growth in the agritech sector.  During the past year, the largest 22 agritech companies had a revenue growth of eight percent and export growth of 6.4 percent.  Companies with revenues over $200 million grew at a rate of 7.7 percent, while companies with revenues of up to $50 million grew remarkably at approximately 30 percent. 

AgriTechNZ CEO, Brendan O’Connell, highlighted the shared challenge facing us all and that great things happen when we work together – the collective genius of the agritech community.  He highlighted three key areas of shared focus that can empower agritech to deliver what the world needs from agriculture:
(1) enablement of digital agriculture – through strengthened foundations and supported adoption.
(2) investment and scale to fuel the change
(3) collaboration and impact

Discover Kiwis Going Global

In case you missed our first story, meet Don Sandbrook, Clare Bradley and Aaron Pannell who share their close connection to the land and the challenges of scaling globally. 

Read more

The Future of Farming is HereDiscover the future of farming right here in New Zealand!  Meet Kiwi agritech innovators Darryn Keiller, Jason Wargent and Tijs Robinson. They’re helping change how we feed the world.
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Left to Right – Peter Nation, Graeme Muller, Kylie Horomia, Sophie Rebbeck, Brendan O’Connell, Juliet Ansell, Daniel O’Brien, Hayden Read, Bridgit Hawkins, Maria Jose Alvarez, Kenneth Irons

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Posted in AgriTechNZ News