The New Zealand Farm Environment Trust’s new General Manager says the Trust will play a crucial role in guiding farmers through an era of increasingly complex sustainability issues.
Christchurch-based James Ryan, a former policy manager with DairyNZ, was appointed General Manager of the New Zealand Farm Environment (NZFE) Trust in October this year (2016).
He says the Trust and its flagship event, the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, provide an important voice for farmers by showcasing the best in sustainability.
He is looking forward to the challenges the new job will bring and says he is happy to be involved with an organisation that promotes positive farming stories.
“New Zealand farmers and horticulturists export their products all over the world. They are smart and creative business managers and multi-taskers who deal with a range of climatic and financial variables. They are also facing heightened community expectations about what they can and can’t do on their farms and orchards. Yet, despite all these challenges, they carry on their business with humility and good humour.”
James says primary producers deserve to have their ‘good news’ stories celebrated by a wider audience, and he and the NZFE Trust team will continue to promote positive sustainability messages.
At an operational level he will be responsible for maintaining and building relationships with a range of Trust partners, including regional councils “that are increasingly stepping up in their environmental space”.
“The primary sector recognises the need to work more effectively with regional councils to help farmers meet their environmental obligations. The Trust will continue to build on its relationship with regional councils while working closely with our other industry partners and sponsors to deliver the best results for farmers.”
James holds a geography degree from the University of Canterbury and has a solid background in environmental issues and management.
He joined DairyNZ as a regional policy manager in 2010, representing the interests of dairy farmers to local and central Government and developing a strong network within the agricultural sector. Previously he worked at the Canterbury Regional Council and the Auckland Regional Council in a range of policy, public affairs and management roles. He has also worked on large infrastructure projects in London and Dublin.
NZFE Trust recently commissioned an independent review designed to highlight opportunities to strengthen the Ballance Farm Environment Awards programme, and James says he is looking forward to working with NZFE trustees and Trust partners to implement the review’s recommendations.
“We are not aiming to make radical changes, but it’s important that we keep innovating to provide strong leadership on sustainability issues. We’ve got a big year ahead and it’s going to be exciting.”