Northern South Island farmer director Kate Acland has been elected chair of the Beef + Lamb New Zealand board.
Acland, who is BLNZ’s first female chair, was elected by the board at the conclusion of BLNZ’s annual meeting in New Plymouth.
Previous chair Andrew Morrison’s term as a BLNZ director concluded at the end of the meeting, following the election of Geoffrey Young as the new Southern South Island farmer director.
Acland said she’s humbled to be appointed chair.
“This is an exciting opportunity to represent farmers and the sector I’m enormously passionate about,” she said.
“I’m personally optimistic about the future. New Zealand has a great history of innovating and adaptation, but right now farming is tough, and farmers are facing unprecedented challenges and change. I look forward to leading the organisation that helps farmers through that change.
“There are lots of challenges ahead. We need to keep fighting for sensible and practical policy settings and the annual meeting process has underlined the need for deeper conversations with our farmers about some of the key issues we’re advocating on and why the board has taken the positions it has.”
Morrison was thanked for his contribution at the annual meeting, with Acland noting his mana and leadership, and his significant service to the industry over the past nine years. There was a standing ovation at the end of his farewell speech.
Acland has been deputy chair since June 2022. The deputy chair role was re-established at that time due to the increasing workload on directors in a period of significant change for farmers.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in viticulture and oenology and a master’s degree in applied science, having majored in farm management consultancy at Lincoln University.
Before moving to her husband David’s family farm, she developed her own vineyard and winery, Sugar Loaf Wines, and a processing and export business in Marlborough.
The couple have three children and employ 30 staff over a diverse group of businesses, including Mt Somers Station. They run 30,000 stock units in a mixture of sheep, beef and deer, as well as an 850-cow dairy unit.
Mt Somers Station also includes a standalone honey operation with 500ha of native vegetation and beech forest supporting 400 hives that produce mānuka, honeydew and clover honeys.
The BLNZ board will meet in the coming days to discuss the results of the nine remits received for the annual meeting, as well as the discussion at the meeting, and will provide its response after that.