Twenty-eight farmers from five continents and 12 countries will spend 10 days in New Zealand taking part in the latest Rabobank Global Farmers Master Class, a state-of-the-art agri learning programme aimed at addressing global food security.
This year’s Rabobank GFMC – an initiative established in 2012 – begins in Hamilton on November 27 and finishes in Queenstown on December 6.
The master class’s content-dense programme will feature presentations from top agricultural thinkers and business experts, interactive workshops and case studies, as well as visits to a range of flagship agribusiness operations in both the North and South Islands.
Farmers from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, Ireland, Kenya, the Netherlands, Peru, the United States and Zimbabwe will be involved.
They will be joined by five New Zealanders – Gisborne horticulture, sheep and beef farmer Tam Jex-Blake, Bay of Plenty dairy farmer Rory Bragg, North Otago sheep and beef farmer Grant McNaughton, South Taranaki dairy and beef farmer Mark Stevenson and Northern Southland livestock and cropping farmer Michael Wilkins.
The participating farmers have been selected based on criteria that targeted innovative, environmentally progressive and passionate decision makers willing to share ideas, learn from others and invest in a sustainable future for agriculture.
This will be the second GFMC to be held in NZ, which co-hosted the event alongside Australia in 2016.
Rabobank NZ general manager for country banking Bruce Weir said it is exciting to have the event returning to NZ this year.
“The feedback I’ve had from New Zealand clients who have attended previous GFMCs has been really positive and they all got a lot out of the experience,” he said.
“Not only does the GFMC provide a chance for the New Zealand business to host some fantastic farmers and growers from right across the globe, but it also gives us an opportunity to highlight some of our country’s outstanding agricultural operations and to demonstrate why New Zealand is a global leader in farming best practices.”
Weir said the programme will nudge attendees out of their comfort zone and provide them with a platform to work on their strategic planning.
“It’s a platform for rural entrepreneurs to become even better, to increase their strategic planning, management and farming skills and develop their innovative power to produce more with less,” he said.
Participants will spend four days in the North Island and six days in the South. They will visit several agribusiness operations including Livestock Improvement Corporation in Waikato, Canterbury-based mixed farming operation Quartz Hill station and Forest Lodge cherry orchard in Central Otago.