[4 April]

Farmlands Co-operative Chief Executive, Peter Reidie, challenged rural New Zealand to meet demands of a changing consumer base. He said that the model used to drive New Zealand’s farming success in the past wasn’t going to drive success in the future. He added that NZ could not win on scale and low cost and that the model needed to be changed. In his view it was about producing less that was worth more. We would not be able to outcompete in producing the most at the lowest cost when places such as China, USA and Australia have 40 times the land mass in agriculture as New Zealand. He emphasised that the world in changing and consumers were becoming more demanding. Mr Reidie said that for Farmlands this meant changing its focus from being good at providing shareholders with what they needed five years ago to producing solutions now for what they need five years from now. He urged producers to be focused primarily on consumer demands. He finished by encouraging people to join the agriculture sector.