Beef + Lamb NZ chair James Parsons sees forestry as a potential fishhook in the new coalition agreement.
The Northland farmer says after nine enjoyable and stimulating years serving farmers, he has decided to move on.
“I’ve felt privileged to be part of a great team of directors and staff. It is a team unified by a deep passion to see rural communities thrive, through growing and protecting the viability of sheep and beef producers.
“Although I am still very energised as the organisation’s chairman, I’ve chosen not to seek re-election.
“Another three-year term would mean 12 years on the board and seven years as chairman. Consequently, I feel the time is right for fresh leadership. We have a strong and capable board, which leaves me confident in the ongoing governance of B+LNZ on behalf of farmers.
Parsons was first elected to the board in March 2009, coinciding with the six-yearly Commodity Levy Referendum about the organisation’s future.
The strong “Vote No” campaign, sparked by several groups of farmers, was a baptism by fire to farmer politics. The outcome was a narrow mandate to continue levy investment in beef and sheep meat, but a stop to wool.
Parsons says this was obviously a real low point for the organisation, but also something that helped define the organisation.
“We recognised we were out of touch with farmers and not communicating the value their levy organisation provided.
“Over the next six years, thanks to a concerted effort by the whole organisation and strong assistance from more than 100 B+LNZ Farmer Council volunteers, we strengthened our connections with farmers and became far more relevant.”