AgResearch Invermay vital for deer industry

AgResearch Invermay vital for deer industry

Thursday, December 5, 2013

NZDFA adamant that continuing investment at AgResearch Invermay vital for deer industry.

05 December 2013

The New Zealand Deer Farmers’ Association has become increasingly concerned at the growing disconnect between AgResearch’s Future Footprint vision and increasing uncertainty of that plan and its success for the deer farming industry.

NZDFA Chairman, Kris Orange, said that the DFA believes the future of deer and sheep research in farming systems, genomics and reproductive sciences and its ongoing success and value remains clearly situated within the Invermay campus, its outstanding facilities and its committed staff, particularly, in the deer and sheep science areas.

He said today “The DFA has major concerns related to the viability of succession, retention of key staff and commitment to the deer industry should this centre of excellence be forced to relocate.”

At a recent DEEResearch stakeholders industry reporting initiative, a series of illustrations of research and practice change programmes delivered a message to deer farmers of the current AgResearch competence and commitment to deer, but strongly reinforced the huge risk to future capability arising from dividing that capability across two campuses. Orange said, “It seems improbable to the DFA that sufficient critical mass will be maintained at Invermay and the DFA fears the eventual future loss of this facility and staff with consequences for both deer and sheep industries. The weekend’s report of key staff resignations apparently related to the relocation proposal is very concerning”.

The NZDFA believes that the succession planned for can be just as effective supported by science resource and commitment at Invermay rather than capital spending on new buildings and infrastructure within the planned hub. The DFA does not believe that the critical resource contained within the current large and dedicated deer research farm will be effectively developed again under Future Footprint plans at Lincoln

The DFA also fears the erosion of the further key component of an excellent industry and research Science relationship, that of open and effective communication at the farm level between the science and farmer communities which has been a strong feature of the deer industry’s evolution.

“History has shown that many key staff will not move to a new location and it appears to us the staff involved with deer science will be no different. The risk to AgResearch and agriculture of key staff refusing to move and being lost to New Zealand science cannot be under estimated”. 

New Zealand Deer Farmers’ Association Level 5, Wellington Chambers: 154 Featherston Street PO Box 10702 Wellington 6149

Succession is definitely an issue, as it is for many businesses involved in agriculture, shifting the hub from Invermay to Lincoln is unlikely to alter this greatly.  Orange understands that  through internal process, it was suggested to let deer research group remain at Invermay, something the BERL report has flagged also, however this alternative has been ignored.

The NZDFA believe there is an opportunity to further develop Invermay (an existing hub) utilising one of AgResearch’s best buildings and for staff to utilise Dunedin as a base just as Otago University researchers  do already particularly in the areas of deer health  and genomics  and the further opportunities, in environment and soil management as also outlined in the future Footprint proposal.   “Otago University students have been attracted to Dunedin for as long as the University has been going with many graduates choosing to make the Dunedin area their home.” says Orange.

To The NZDFA an enhanced status quo at Invermay and retention of jobs, capability, key staff and confidence is logical,  compelling  and critical for the deer farming industry

“On paper there is merit in having fewer hubs, both in monetary terms and in capability, however in reality this is not as practical as it sounds.  Just as one large fuel station at Marsden Point would be the most efficient, the reality is that there is a need for a diverse network of satellite hubs to fully service the needs of the agricultural sector.  It must be remembered AgResearch is in the service industry and needs to offer what its partners require.”  Orange said.

ENDS

Kris Orange
Chairman, Executive Committee 
New Zealand Deer Farmers’ Association
kris@downlandsdeer.co.nz
021 322 622