I (Neil Hamilton) am standing in the 2018 Farmlands Director Election for the South Island.

Please consider voting for me in October/November 2018. Why?

  • I have a broad range of skills and experience that complement the
    existing board, and that are very relevant to Farmlands given the
    current strategic challenges faced by our co-operative.
  • I have a good breadth of skill and experience across all areas sought by the board, with particular strengths in the areas of Strategy, Finance/Commercial, Business Transformation and Digital/IT Solutions.
  • A number of my professional roles have involved strategic transformation and diversification for large corporates and co-operatives, such as moving from traditional retail models to blended, multi-channel ‘bricks and clicks’ models – this is highly applicable to the Farmlands scenario.
  • I am a ‘pragmatic strategist’ – this means I don’t just design strategies and walk away, instead I know how to drive successful strategic execution plans and am also an innovative tactical problem solver.
  • I’ve worked with a number of co-operatives during periods of significant change, including Foodstuffs South Island, Ravensdown, Foodstuffs New Zealand and during the PPCS/Richmond merger (now Silver Fern Farms).
  • I’m a Chartered Member of the Institute of Directors and have been a director of various companies since 1988. I also have a Masters in Business Administration (MBA, with Distinction ), a Bachelor of Science and various other professional qualifications.
  • A vote for me is a vote for someone who’ll listen to the shareholder base and advocate strongly for both:
  • Short term tactical action to improve our financial position, and
  • Long term strategy and planning to ensure we build a relevant and strategically agile organisation for the future.

A short video follows, so that you have a slightly better sense of who I am, followed by some commentary and observations below on the current and future state of play for Farmlands as I see them.

Thanks for your time (and even more for your vote!) You can contact me to discuss any aspect of my candidacy via any of the following:

Thanks – Neil

Some comments and observations from me on Farmlands (present and future):

  • Financially Farmlands is in a fairly weak state – revenues have been flat, profitability and bonus rebates poor for several years.
  • Debt is still at $66 million, which has come down somewhat, but is still high compared to ‘Members Interests’ of $121 million, meaning that key financial ratios are relatively poor.
  • Some of our competitors are selling below cost, which is unsustainable in the long-run, but requires that we find ways of competing to stay in the game, or otherwise we’ll lose market share.
  • The co-operative’s reason for being – to lower the cost of inputs for farmers/shareholders does mean profitability is naturally constrained and this gives us very little financial resilience when market conditions are tough.
  • We need to examine our business model and determine if there is a better way, whilst remaining true to our roots and relevant to shareholders.
  • We need to engage more effectively with customers and demonstrate that we understand their requirements through the provision of relevant and leading-edge products and services.
  • We need to dramatically improve our on-line offerings to ensure we are relevant to a new generation of farmers coming through, who often can’t conceive interacting with suppliers any other way.
  • We all know farming is cyclic and affected by external conditions, but Farmlands needs to be resilient to this variability. Good customer focus and using analytics to predict and respond to emerging trends are key.
  • I am broadly supportive of the $90 million Braveheart initiative (as outlined in the 2017 Annual Report) as the starting point for a strategic refresh, but this programme needs to be well governed and the future roadmap clarified.
  • The future must surely consist of a blend of:
    • Face-to-face retail and on-farm interaction between customers and Farmlands staff – as we currently do.
    • Much more effective provision of on-line services and interactions where our customers choose this path – which we currently do very poorly.

If you’ve read this far, I thank you! Clearly I believe I have a lot to offer Farmlands and I’d very much like to have the opportunity to work with Shareholders, Staff and the rest of the Board to build a stronger co-operative for the future.