The largest Crown research institute employed 722 staff in four research centres and at 11 research farms.
It had net science revenue of $116m and $66m was paid to staff during the year compared with $64m the previous year.
Revenue came from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment ($72.5m), from commercial contracts ($62m), from farm produce ($5m) and from other sources ($17m).
At balance date it had total assets of $304m, down from $309m the year before.
It made a loss of $4.8m, mainly because of an $8.8m impairment on the joint facility with Lincoln University. AgResearch now proposes a building it will own.
The annual report, subtitled Driving Prosperity by Transforming Agriculture, mentioned three trends challenging the value the nation derives from its primary industries.
The first is growing awareness of the climate change implications of greenhouse gas emissions from intensive livestock farming.
The second is the impact of alternatives to pastoral-produced meat and dairy products and the third is changing consumer views and preferences on meat consumption.
“The position our farmers hold in the fabric of society, their social licence to operate and the markets they participate in are all changing at a rate never witnessed before, largely due to the influence of the global digital revolution.”
AgResearch will embrace the challenge and refocus its science plan to bring it into line with the imminent changes.
Areas such as animal genomics and promoting farm systems for the betterment of the environment were mentioned.
AgResearch’s role is to do the science to let the pastoral sector transition to a more adaptive and sustainable bioeconomy.
The gender profile of staff showed women increased from 52% to 55% over the past three years and men went from 48% to 45%.
The ethnicity profile in 2019 was 61% NZ European, 11% Asian, 9% European, 4% British and 3% Maori.
Employee turnover was a little over 7% in the financial year, compared with 8% in the two previous years.
The average tenure is 11.5 years and 78% of employees work full-time.
AgResearch has international collaborations with more than 60 countries, for a total of 332 collaborations last year.
The United States led the way with 55, followed by 40 with Australia and 30 with China.
Social media was used more to find targeted audiences for building sample size for research projects.
AgResearch has 5754 Twitter followers, 9029 LinkedIn connections and 2830 Facebook followers.
Paul Reynolds was appointed chairman on September 2 to succeed Jeff Grant after a period as acting chairman. Reynolds is a former chief executive of the Ministry for the Environment.
Rukumoana Schaafhausen was appointed a director at the beginning of the financial year.
She is chairwoman of Te Arataura, the executive arm of Te Whakakitenga o Waikato, the tribal authority representing the people of Waikato-Tainui.
Chief executive Tom Richardson is stepping down at the end of October after nine years in the role.
Finance and business performance director Tony Hickmott will be acting chief executive during the recruitment process for the $700,000-plus position.