[10 May/Farmers Weekly]

Gabrielle Thompson, a Sheep and Arable Farmer has become the first appointed Farmer Director of Silver Fern Farms in a plan to ensure succession and development of skills around the board. Mrs Thompson works full time on the family farm which has been supplying SFF for three generations. She helps with both the sheep and cropping responsibilities as well as being responsible for the farm’s administration and health and safety, banker and supplier relationships, sales contracts and has full involvement in the strategy and succession planning for the farm. Originally a dryland sheep farm, irrigation was introduced by Mrs Thompson’s father-in-law Selwyn and further developed by Gabrielle and Peter when they turned to store lambs and arable about 10 years ago. Mrs Thompson is a trained vet and owned five animal clinics and retail businesses across the South Island before selling the businesses to pursue other business opportunities. A passionate driver for rural and agribusiness, Mrs Thompson expressed her eagerness to get her feet under the SFF board table, to add fresh views in moving forward with the company. Mrs Thompson believes NZ is well placed to use technology to become the world’s delicatessen.