Executive Committee Update | Issue 196

Feb 9, 2024

Jamie Ward

Welcome to the New Year and hopefully it will be a very positive one for deer farmers. While there is a long way to go, the sire stag sales have presented a bright point to start things off. It is very exciting to see investments being made in new genetics, even though it has been a tough few years. Of course I am biased with genetics being a large part of my research career, but I was really pleased to see and hear about good stag sales and bidders chasing genetics for the future.

On brighter future prospects I have also heard some reports of sheep and beef farmers looking at how they might add deer to their enterprise mix. This should be positive for everyone, with some farm businesses diversifying and spreading their risk, while also increasing the base deer herd, which I think we can all agree is too low right now. Positive new entrants will bring new knowledge, enthusiasm and experience which will enrich our industry.

New entrants are important in many areas in our industry and right now some of those areas are up in lights. With Innes Moffat resigning as CEO after 18 Years with DINZ there is a big gap at the head of our industry body to fill, so if you know any good prospective applicants give them a nudge. Slightly closer to the NZDFA coalface we have our elections coming up with nominations for NZDFA Executive, SAP (Board Selections and Appointment Panel) and the DINZ Board itself. Look out for the nomination forms and have a good think about if you or someone you know would be a good candidate.

These roles are critical to keep grass roots input flowing up through and into our industry and helping to ensure that the industry fits the needs of our farmers. Some of you may be aware that I was appointed to the NZDFA Executive following some shoulder tapping. That appointment was originally only one year, but some changes that were made to NZDFA constitution increased that to two years. This was not a deliberate ploy to lock me down for an extra year, it was an almost accidental outcome of some tidy up of policy and procedures.

Two Executive positions will be open for nominations this year including mine, we want to have at minimum a full board of nominees, hopefully an over subscription, so please think about it now. I came in cold with no real NZDFA experience, just a lot of industry history and knowledge, so if I can do it so can you especially if you have been engaged in NZDFA activities.

I have been injured this last month, so have been rehabilitating some tendon injuries and have not been able to participate in some of my running events. Instead I have been volunteering as a marshal, recorder or otherwise, and being able to participate in a different yet very fulfilling way and still contribute to my sport. My coach and club captain celebrates our volunteers almost more than he celebrates our champions and he especially celebrates our leaders. So from a slightly different angle think about becoming a champion and leader in our industry. This will likely be my last opportunity to celebrate our NZDFA champion, Justin who is stepping down from the Chair at the end of this term. He has led us superbly through an extremely difficult and complicated time. Justin is a very calm, cool, well-informed head that has captained us through some very turbulent waters. He also fields a power of phone calls from NZDFA members to keep them informed or sometime just remined them of things that they probably already knew.

I would really personally like to give a really big thanks to Justin for all that he has done for the NZDFA Executive, especially steering a rookie like me through the Executive business.

I know the season to date has not exactly been what was climatically forecast, and I hope you have all managed to make some adjustments to the ones I suspect you originally made. The business end of the season is about to come up; tagging, weaning and mating to set us up for next year. So have a good think about how all those are going to go to serve you well for the near and far future. Finally if you are in the Hawkes Bay area get along to the Deer 2 $ucceed event on the 14thof this month (next week). This is a bold new initiative by the Hawkes Bay NZDFA, one which was very rudely delayed by 12 months by Cyclone Gabrielle. This is a great way to get out, socialise, think about your farming business and celebrate the resilience of the Hawkes Bay deer farming community.

 - Jamie Ward, Executive Committee Member       

Continue reading DFA Stagline Issue 196, next: What’s been happening around the country? >>

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