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Agritech companies helping reduce NZ’s rural emissions

Tuesday, May 17th, 2022

New Zealand’s agritech companies are helping meet the country’s climate commitments and their innovations are valued internationally which will drive agritech export growth and create future proof jobs for Kiwis.

Agritech could be destined to save the New Zealand economy, leading New Zealand tech expert Graeme Muller says.

The tremendous worldwide demand for food continues to soar with some estimating the market to be worth $US3 trillion and much of the growth coming from specialty and healthy foods, the NZTech chief executive says,

“Combining two of New Zealand’s leading sectors, agriculture and technology, shows just how we can improve New Zealand farming, food production and health while also growing our exports. We are on the cusp of some massive and exciting tech changes in our lives.”

AgriTechNZ chief executive Brendan O’Connell says agritech has a key role to play in cutting emissions as well as boosting export earnings.

Nearly $340 million of the $2.9 billion in this week’s climate funding announcement will go to setting up a centre for climate action on agricultural emissions. It will focus on enabling the uptake of technology based on research of ways to cut methane on the farm.

O’Connell says the government’s plan to reduce emissions acknowledges the role agritech companies play in getting mitigation research into the hands of producers sooner.

“The new centre for climate action on agricultural emissions will drive tech innovation and uptake on farms. This builds on extensive agricultural greenhouse gas research.

“It takes an entire community of people to enable conditions which sees research make it into the hands of practitioners who are prepared to adapt their practices. This community includes government, researchers across multiple disciplines, industry groups, tech companies and producer groups.

“Strong research collaborations in New Zealand and internationally are creating mitigation tools that include animal diets and selective breeding, soil carbon measures, renewable energy and energy efficiency, input reductions, per animal productivity improvements and scaling of regenerative practices.

“AgriTechNZ, government and industry partners to are working on critical foundations needed to enable understanding and adoption of the technologies.

“This includes improved capabilities for data exchange, an approach to the agriculture emissions pricing rollout that encourages innovation, and a greater understanding of adoption pathways for technology.

“The most promising change technologies are several years away from use on pasture, so the ground needs to be prepared now with suitable farm environmental plans and an ability to use data.

“AgriTechNZ research on technology adoption shows 58 percent of farming businesses have a positive intent for tech use on farms, but many need support to make that intent a reality.

“Tech companies are constantly supporting solutions in the field and it is not just government making investments.”

Private sector investors are getting behind companies such as Pastoral Robotics who can sense and treat nitrous oxide sources whilst also improving pasture quality and another company, Eko360, which is controlling the release of fertiliser nutrients.

Fonterra’s team are developing Kowbucha, which could potentially switch off the bad bugs that create the methane in cows.

New Zealand’s goal is to reduce methane by 10 percent by 2030, and 24 to 47 percent by 2050.

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

Posted in AgriTechNZ News

AgriTechNZ Annual Meeting and Executive Council Elections 2022

Wednesday, May 11th, 2022

AgriTech New Zealand (AgriTechNZ) has grown significantly since our launch in May 2018. As a membership-based organisation, AgriTechNZ is run by an elected Executive Council and there are vacancies for three positions in 2022.
AgriTechNZ connects innovators, investors, regulators, researchers and interested public.  AgriTechNZ advances the ecosystem through advocacy, collaboration, innovation, talent and economic growth through international connections and missions.
To continue building on our success, it is critical to have the drive and support of a purposeful Executive Council and we are now seeking nominations. We encourage you to consider who could make an impact as a member of the AgriTechNZ Executive Council ensuring the new Council reflects the diversity of the community we support.

Executive Council Nominations

There is now an opportunity to put yourself forward or nominate someone else for a role on the AgriTechNZ Executive Council.

This year we have vacancies for the following positions:

  • Corporate – Major (1 position)
  • Corporate – Other (1 position)
  • SMEs and Startups (1 position)

The positions are for a 2-year term.

Nominees for the above positions must be:

All nominations must be submitted online here by 5pm, Tuesday 31 May, 2022.

AgriTechNZ Executive Council roles and responsibilities include:

  • Direct and supervise the business and affairs of AgriTechNZ.
  • Attend monthly Executive Council meetings, usually two hours in duration (video conferencing available).
  • Represent AgriTechNZ at industry events and as part of delegations.
  • Assist with managing and securing members of AgriTechNZ.
  • Participate in AgriTechNZ working groups and projects.
  • Where agreed by the Executive Council, act as a spokesperson for AgriTechNZ on particular issues relating to working groups or projects.
  • Be a vocal advocate of AgriTechNZ.

Online Voting

Voting will take place online in advance of the meeting. The results will be announced at the Annual Meeting. Please see the Charter for an outline of Executive Council Membership and election process. Each organisation has one vote allocated to the primary contact of the member organisation.

Annual Meeting Details

The Annual Meeting is scheduled for 3pm on Tuesday 5 July 2022 and is to be held via video conference. Register for the event here.

Notices and Remits

If you wish to propose any notices or motions to be considered at the Annual Meeting, please send them to by 5pm, Tuesday 14 June, 2022.

Key Dates:

  • 11 May: Call for nominations for Executive Council representatives issued to members.
  • 31 May: Deadline for nominations to be received.
  • 7 June: List of nominees to be issued to AgriTechNZ voting members and electronic voting commences.
  • 14 July: Any proposed notices, motions or remits to be advised to AgriTechNZ.
  • 5 July: Results of online voting announced at Annual Meeting.

Posted in AgriTechNZ News

AgriTechNZ News: Powerful stories

Wednesday, April 13th, 2022

For the first time in a long time agritech businesses are out there strutting the stage globally. Since isolation requirements were lifted, there has been a tentative, but definite return to international travel. It is indicative of both a pent up need to connect with our markets and an acknowledgment of changes in the world. Our stories lay the pathway for deepening relations, so this month we’re focusing on our storytelling and the connections we’re making.

Sharing our inspiring stories
Discover the Kiwis taking on the world in our brand new series. First up, we meet entrepreneurs Don, Clare and Aaron who share their close connection to the land and the challenges of scaling globally.
Read more >

Join the conversation
How 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. Read more >

Navigating Chaos
In March I joined an event hosted by Boma New Zealand, Navigating Chaos as a Ukrainian Entrepreneur, an interview with Michael Utkin, CEO of agritech business FieldBee. The extreme circumstances the FieldBee teams are working under is inspirational, clearly demonstrating how work and the lives we share it with are so interwoven. View now >

Turbocharge global connections
As borders reopen, it’s time to begin reconnecting in person. If you are considering attending Hort Connections or WineTech, this June in Australia, please let us know. Read more >

Leading the way at Dairy-Tech UK
It was great to see AgriTechNZ members, Gallagher, MilkTechNZ, Levno and UBCO leading the way at this northern hemisphere event. In preparation for future opportunities, we are delighted to collaborate with the United Kingdom Department of International Trade (UK DIT) and UK Agritech Centres to connect our ecosystems. Read more >

Take to the stage at evokeAG 2023 in Adelaide
If you have a global agrifood innovation and tech story worth telling, please submit an expression of interest by 31 May. Read more >

Foundations of digital agriculture
Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced support for digital farm environment plans (dFEP) from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI) Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund (SFF Futures). To fast track its delivery, SFF Futures is contributing to the Trust Alliance New Zealand (TANZ) led research project. Read more >

Powering up the waka
Andrew Cooke from Rezare Systems has penned an excellent thought piece on optimising a farm with digital solutions while completing necessary regulatory levy compliance tasks as efficiently as possible. Read more >

Blueprint for an industry
It’s not often you see the birth of an entire new sector, but that’s what Puro New Zealand are taking on through a SFF Futures grant from MPI. The grant will help establish an organic medical cannabis industry by developing a blueprint for other Kiwi companies. Read more >

Acquisition strengthens capability
Recently named supreme winner of the New Zealand International Business Awards, Bluelab has acquired automation company Autogrow as part of a global expansion strategy. Read more >

Keeping an eye on investments
Dunedin based member OmniEye has received $1.6 million seed funding to commercialise their on-farm camera system. Read more >

More agritech recognition
Congratulations also to all the agritech finalists in the New Zealand Hi-Tech Awards. Special mention to our members Agrisea, Cropsy, Hectre and SmartMachine. Read more >

Primary Industries Summit and Awards: exclusive ticket giveaway!
We have partnered with Callaghan Innovation to offer five member companies (who have entered the awards) a free two day summit pass, plus complimentary tickets to the Primary Industries Summit Awards on 6 July in Auckland. Contact us >

Discover Israel’s Innovation Experience
Israel 360° offers an online academy followed by a week in Israel, touring businesses, meeting investors and networking. Scholarships are available. Learn more >

Step up and represent your community
We have three Executive Council roles up for election in the next two months. Major Corporate, Other Corporate and SME positions are all due, so now is a good time to sort your membership and play a role in our sector leadership. Contact us >

Ngā mihi,

Chief Executive
AgriTech New Zealand

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Posted in AgriTechNZ News

Turbocharge global connections

Tuesday, April 12th, 2022

As borders reopen, it’s time to begin reconnecting in person. AgriTechNZ, Callaghan Innovation and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) are eager to help turbocharge global connections, starting with two events in Australia in June.

Hort Connections

Australia & New Zealand’s Premiere Horticulture Conference & Trade Show
6 – 8 June, 2022.
Brisbane Convention Centre
View agenda


Australia’s Wine Industry Exhibition & Conference
27 – 29 June, 2022
Adelaide Convention Centre
View agenda 

If there is enough interest in either of these events, Callaghan will support Kiwi companies with either a NZ Let’s Connect event prior to the conference or an in-market Mini Mission immediately after.

What is NZ Let’s Connect?

These events are meetups for New Zealand companies attending conferences. It provides an opportunity to network prior to a conference and meet with relevant sector experts from the host city.

What is a Mini Mission?

These are customised for each event and include a one day deep dives to better understand the market. Mini Missions may include a farm or research institute visit, or in-market exploration with agencies from the host city.

If you have registered or are considering attending Hort Connections or WineTech, please let us know here!

Please respond by Friday 22 April 2022.

Posted in AgriTechNZ News

Powered by Place: sharing our stories

Monday, April 4th, 2022

How does our connection to the land inspire our thinking?

Discover the Kiwis taking on the world in the first of our brand new Powered by Place story series.  Meet Greentech Robotics’ Don Sandbrook, AgriSea’s Clare Bradley and FlipFarm’s Aaron Pannell who share their close connection to the land and the challenges of scaling globally.

Can you take on the world from your own backyard?

The sheer bloody minded persistence that paved Don Sandbrook’s big break is still the key to building a global business. Greentech Robotics is on a bold mission – to future proof farming by developing cutting edge robotic capability.  Today, almost all their customers are offshore, but Greentech Robotics is still based in Palmerston North.  We asked Greentech Robotics’ Don Sandbrook how he made it work. Read more.

Shifting mindsets with the power of local knowledge.

It started as a dream, but this award winning Paeroa based family business is creating global impact.  Their tech is unique and uses brown kelp native to New Zealand.

“As a Māori-owned, intergenerational business, we have a different lens on the business than a large corporate might have. That influences our long-term vision. Māori values like kaitiakitanga, manaakitanga and whanaungatanga are part of our DNA,” says AgriSea’s Clare Bradley.

“Our values are not a PR exercise for us, they’re part of who we are. We feel it is our responsibility to look after our natural resources for future generations,” she says. Read more.

Necessity is the mother of invention!

We’re renowned for our ‘number eight wire’ mentality to problem solving.  But when FlipFarm had to think creatively to stop losing their gear and oysters they also created a system to help farmers around the world.

“We built the system for us but once we saw that it worked we knew it was going to solve a big problem for farmers around the world,” says FlipFarm’s Aaron Pannell. 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.

Posted in AgriTechNZ News

Foundations of digital agriculture

Tuesday, March 29th, 2022

Today, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced support for digital farm environment plans (dFEP) from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI) Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund (SFF Futures). SFF Futures is contributing $493,500 to the $823,500 research project, led by Trust Alliance New Zealand (TANZ).  

Farm Environment Plans are a pivotal tool to identify and take action on environmental risks on-farm, demonstrate progress on environmental objectives and build export value through satisfying global consumer expectations.

The research aims to fast track the delivery of a digital solution for farm environment plans. As a result, farmers and growers will be able to share environmental compliance data through the same toolsets that are used for regular farm management tasks.

As an industry supporter, AgriTechNZ celebrates the work of TANZ and the AgriTechNZ members and their partners helping drive this work: Agrigate, ANZ, Auckland Council, Ballance Agri-Nutrients, Eagle Technology, FarmIQ, Federated Farmers, GS1, MyEnviro and Potatoes NZ.

We welcome this significant step towards a digital future for agriculture in New Zealand.   

“Our food and farming systems are faced with both challenges and opportunities in food security, climate and environmental impact. Digital agriculture or ‘smart farming’ represents a set of tools to enhance practices for the benefit of farmers and consumers. Smart farming can help provide foundations to build responsible production and consumer systems across the primary industries,  says Brendan O’Connell, CEO, AgriTechNZ. 

“ Creating a digital option for FEPs means managing farming decisions and regulatory requirements will be far more efficient. For example, in the same way that farm accounts and tax returns are also streamlined with digital tools, FEPs will benefit from a simplified process.” 

“This transition is more than just a technology development, it extends to organisational and management practices. Our sector includes practitioners, innovators and enablers who mobilise new capabilities in data, automation, connectivity and virtual exchange to contribute to smart farming practices. We consider smart farming a strong lever in strengthening sustainable forms of farming and food systems.” 

“AgriTechNZ looks forward to working with TANZ and MPI in developing a dFEP proof of concept to integrate data exchange, practice requirements and regulatory commitments with regular farm operations.” 

View the Hon Damien O’Connor’s media statement here.  

Subscribe to receive regular news and events updates from AgriTechNZ. 

Posted in AgriTechNZ News

NZ: Israel agritech collaboration

Monday, February 7th, 2022

On February 15 and 16, AgriTechNZ is hosting an event in collaboration with the Israeli Trade Commission and the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industry. The purpose of this event is to create a platform where agritech peers can learn from each other’s journey of innovation.

The agritech ecosystem in Israel is often referred to in economic reports for its tenacity and impact globally. The New Zealand agritech ecosystem is often plauded for its affinity with farming and growing systems around the world. We believe there is much to learn from each other in this domain of agritech innovation.

Since announcing the event we have received multiple requests from different Palestinian support groups to boycott any activity supported by the Israeli government.

We acknowledge that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a very complex and sensitive situation.

Our position is that we are apolitical and are solely focussed on progressing the interests of agritech as a sector. We work for the benefit of our agritech community. Our role is to connect and promote the interests of agritech innovators globally.

We also believe that collaborating with any government agency on a specific topic does not imply support of all government policy or activities. We are collaborating with agencies from both the New Zealand and Israel governments on this initiative.

Therefore, we will not be responding to requests from Palestinian support groups to boycott this event. Likewise, we will not be engaging in any political statements or activities from any Government perspective either.

We recognise that generations of Palestinians and Israelis have known only conflict. We pray for a culture of peace to find common ground and flourish.

AgriTechNZ Executive Council

Posted in AgriTechNZ News

Finishing 2021 with a few special mentions!

Tuesday, December 14th, 2021

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our dedicated and tireless volunteer Executive Council. They guide me and the team and put in considerable effort on behalf of the member groups they represent. They are accomplished, connected and motivated, so it’s not surprising they have achieved quite a few notable results themselves this year.

Our Chair, Kenneth Irons, was selected as the New Zealand representative on the International Standards Organisation’s advisory group on Smart Farming.

Bridgit Hawkins, Chief Sustainability Officer at CropX,  launched Fields Of Change to begin an important and long overdue conversation about women’s leadership in agriculture. 

Maria Jose (MJ) Alvarez, Investment Manager at WNT Ventures, was selected as a finalist for the Westpac and Stuff Women of Influence NZ 2021 for her work increasing diversity in tech and venture capital. MJ was also recognised as one of the Top Diverse Board-Ready Directors by the Superdiversity Institute for Law, Policy and Business and Ministry for Ethnic Communities in New Zealand.

Kylie Horomia, Head of Industry Transformation at WayBeyond, was the driving force behind the recent Global Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) Census. The purpose of the Census is to understand the CEA landscape and provide growers’ insights into how their industry is tracking. Dr Haydn Reid and Te Whanau-a-Apanui are developing a spat Hatchery and working with other Iwi in the aquaculture space on the Eastern Bay of Plenty. It’s an emerging story, but one where Agritech will be super valuable, in a place where people need jobs and talent can be developed to support a new developing industry.

Finally, I’d like to thank our members who support this community and enable the development of our shared ecosystem. Through your support we are continuing to promote and advocate for the development of the sector – a collective effort with strong support from our Government partners. That support comes from the justified aspirations for the sector, but also because we continue to collaborate as a sector together.

Brendan O’Connell



Posted in AgriTechNZ News

Transform this!

Tuesday, December 14th, 2021

On 30 November we hosted an online update for the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan (ITP). It was a packed session with plenty of content focussed on actual progress rather than ‘plans for transformation’. 

The language of ITPs was inherited from similar economic development approaches in the United Kingdom and Singapore. The specific principles of this approach include taking a sector specific focus and working with both industry and ‘all of government’ to coordinate a series of actions in the short – medium term that are intended to have a long-term impact or transformation.

‘All of Government’ is a term that often gets used and yet for those that work in or with government it is a term of intent rather than a reflection on standard practice.  So, it’s significant that the intent of an all of government approach finds meaning in the execution of a shared plan.  In my role during the last year, I’ve spent a reasonable portion of each week working with agency teams either individually, or in collaborative sessions. It has been a privilege to see the skills and talents of different groups coming together to focus on our sector.  In particular it has been exciting to see the in-market capability of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) matched with the sector affinity of Callaghan Innovation.

It is highly significant that Ministerial ownership for the Agritech ITP is now shared between Minister O’Connor and Minister Nash.  Their portfolios cover agriculture, trade and SMEs – a landscape capturing the varied interests of agritech very well. As a sector we are the enabler for sustainable agriculture,  a promise for growing international trade and an assembly of innovators building individual businesses.

This year, despite the restrictions, we need to recognise the progress and beginnings of transformation. We also need to continue challenging what will make the aspirations of our agritech sector come to life in the next five years. We look forward to continuing the conversation in 2022. 

Posted in AgriTechNZ News

AgriTechNZ News: Kiwi innovation and world leading solutions

Friday, November 26th, 2021

As we approach the home straight for 2021, there are several important activities to wrap up and planning for 2022.

Next week, we are taking what was supposed to be a national roadshow online.  Join the Agritech Connect Seminar as we reflect on the progress made with the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan (ITP). This will be an informative session highlighting key project progress and sets the scene for the continuing shared work to build our sector. This event is a precursor to our physical  tour around the country in 2022, starting in late February.  It’s not too late to register, so please, join us Tuesday 30 November from 1:00pm-2:30 pm.  

Last week, we began surveying our membership to better understand their needs, preferences, their sector and community interests.  Insights from this survey will be used to plan member activities and representation. Your participation will impact our work so if you are a member and missed the email, please contact us

What makes our agritech unique?
Earlier this month, the #PoweredbyPlace campaign launched in the print edition of the Farmers Guardian, Climate change  solutions from the other side of the worldThe first video showcasing how New Zealand agritech is helping United Kingdom (UK) farmers improve their environmental footprint, is also live.  View it here and then watch our hero video here

In collaboration with Government agencies and agritech businesses, we are piloting offshore agritech campaigns, initially targeting the UK.  The learnings from this will then provide a blueprint for activation in other markets.     

If you haven’t already, please check out the Powered by Place toolkit with insights, messaging, images and videos to help you share the New Zealand Agritech story in your market.  You can also leverage the campaign by using the ready-to-share social tiles in your marketing with #NZAgritech or #PoweredbyPlace hashtags on social media.  The campaign toolkit includes all the assets (yes, it’s free!) and guidance on how they can be used.

Explore the toolkit

Data interoperability update 

We recently held the third session of the Agritech Leaders Data Reference Group and reviewed industry concepts for a ‘data definitions registry’ and industry statement of intent regarding data sharing.  Our Chair, Kenneth Irons, was also recently appointed by Stats NZ as the New Zealand Representative on the International Standards Organisation (ISO) Advisory Group on Smart Farming. There is a lot of activity in the domain of ‘data interoperability’ and we are forming views on what some of the ‘common ground’ activities should be for an independent organisation working in an interdependent space. We know that this is not just a local challenge and we need to connect with global systems and build on the work of others.

Read more >

Championing data collaboration
The proof is in the carcass! It was great to see the integration of ANZCO’s kill sheet data with FarmIQ systems. Every step that links insights across the sector is a step closer to a more complete data ecosystem for New Zealand. Our vision is for a digitally enabled primary sector that protects and amplifies what is best of New Zealand and adds further credibility to all our products: food, fibre and tech.

Read more >

Fastest growing agribusiness

In further member news, we congratulate Levno for being named the fastest growing Agribusiness and placing among the top 20 fastest growing businesses in New Zealand over the previous two years in the #Deloitte #NZFast50 index.

Read more >

Open innovation 

It’s also great to see open innovation and collaboration in the Sievwright Investment Entity’s investment in Machines at Work. This is first external investment in Machines at Work, and the Sievwright’s are the drivers behind global equipment business Trimax. The funds will be used to accelerate development of the company’s core technology which enables the autonomous operation of existing machinery — helping address some of the biggest challenges faced by the horticulture sector today. It’s a great partnership and example of continued confidence and investment across the sector.

Read more >

Award winning aquatech innovation 

Congratulations to FlipFarm Systems, a New Zealand company that has developed a semi-automated method for turning oyster-growing cages over with little human effort, has won the Global Seafood Alliance’s annual Global Aquaculture Innovation Award.

Read more >

Our partners at AusAgritech recently appointed Tracey Martin as their new CEO and we look forward to working together on the promotion of regional agritech strengths and opportunities.

Thank you to all members who have provided input to the recent NZTech submission on the Ministry for the Environment’s Te hau marohi ki anamata, Transitioning to a low-emissions and climate-resilient future. Your voice was heard and has joined the voices of those who  support the effective application of technology to enable our shared future. You can view further submission activity here and we will continue to highlight topics of particular interest to the AgriTechNZ community.  Given the Industry Transformation Plan’s focus on Commercialisation of Research Intellectual Property (IP), we will focus on the Te Ara Paerangi – Future pathways – Green Paper and encourage you to submit feedback as well as participate in industry discussion on the future of science and innovation.Please let us know if you would like to join a working group on this topic

Finally, when it comes to looking to the future we are strong advocates for the development of skills in identifying and processing signals of change. We all do a version of this as we can news and topics of interest to our sector.  Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of joining a training session with KPMG where it became apparent that there is a discipline and methodology to capturing and analysing signals that together can inform more rich assessments of possible future scenarios for our sector and business. Callaghan Innovation are continuing this and I highly recommend checking out this first newsletter, subscribing for future issues versions and joining events like this in Christchurch on Dec 9th when possible. The Global Signals newsletter and workshops are another part of the Agritech ITP and it’s exactly what our agritech companies should be seeing in their inbox on a monthly basis.

Keep well as we come to the end of what was another very strange year. We’re looking forward to an even brighter future.

Ngā mihi

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

Posted in AgriTechNZ News