Tuesday, 15 September 2020 07:25

Putting farmers first

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
James Smallwood. James Smallwood.

The NZ agriculture sector is more than just a job for CRV Ambreed’s new managing director James Smallwood.

It’s about people doing business with people, says Smallwood, who has had a 30-year career in agribusiness and along with his wife owns a 550-cow dairy farm in Wairarapa.

He is signalling “an open-door” approach to leadership, planning to get out in the field with staff and invite farmers to connect with him one-on-one.

“I know farmers like working with our company and our staff; we’ve built a great working relationship,” he told Dairy News.

Smallwood plans to experience this first-hand.

“A lot of CRV’s success to date is the result of the passionate staff that work here, which is evident in the strong relationships our team has with our farmer customers.

“I can see that the CRV team truly values the reputation it has amongst farmers as a trustworthy partner who listens and understands their farming business. It’s crucial our customers know they can rely on us to work with them to achieve their herd improvement goals, using genetics and data.

“As the newest member of the CRV team, I’m looking forward to getting out in the field, supporting our team and finding out what matters most to our farmer customers.”

Smallwood started his new role last month, following the appointment of Angus Haslett as head of CRV Ambreed’s Dutch parent company, CRV.

Smallwood is only CRV Ambreed’s fourth managing director in the company’s history.

He says he is focused on working with the CRV team to continue offering industry-leading innovations and great products to the company’s farmer customers.

“We want to deliver our products and services to farmers in a way they value and love, so that their businesses benefit, whether that’s through increased production, healthier cows or technology to help them farm better.

“I’m looking forward to helping CRV realise its true potential as one of New Zealand’s leading genetics companies.”

Smallwood points out that CRV Ambreed is more than just an animal breeding business.

Over the years, it has invested in technology and research such as LowN Sires and herd recording software, myHERD – innovations changing the way farmers approach their herd improvement.

He notes that today’s discerning customers have food safety, animal welfare and sustainability on the top of their minds.

 Smallwood says technology developed by CRV Ambreed, in collaboration with industry stakeholders, is designed to help farmers become more sustainable and further improve their animal welfare credentials.

He says genetics is playing its part, helping farmers deal with animal welfare issues.

For example, use of CRV Ambreed sexed semen gives farmers more heifers, greater value replacements and fewer bobby calves. The management of bobby calves by the industry has come under scrutiny in recent years.

The company also launched myHERD, a new herd recording application, which replaces CRV Insight. It allows dairy farmers to consolidate their herd recording and farm information on one platform.  CRV Ambreed runs myHERD on the FarmIQ platform.

“We are not developing technology ourselves but in partnership with groups like FarmIQ, other industry players and the Government.”

Wairarapa boy

James Smallwood has worked around the world in a variety of leadership positions, which have given him a deep understanding of the primary industries.

Smallwood’s most recent role was based in Melbourne as general manager Australia and New Zealand of ABS Australia (part of global company Genus PLC), providing animal breeding supplies and services to the Australian and New Zealand dairy and beef industries.

Under his leadership the company recaptured its number one market share position in both beef and dairy, after the successful development and implementation of a business rebuilding strategy.

Smallwood was born and bred on a small dairy farm in the Wairarapa.  He and his wife have expanded this to a 550-cow operation over the past twenty years. They have also recently developed a dairy beef unit in partnership with their long standing sharemilkers.

He has also served as director of entities including DataGene and Ovita Limited, and has completed the Fonterra Governance Development programme. He has chaired several boards and committees both in the industry and in the wider Wairarapa community.

More like this

Featured

 

John Deere names new Aust/NZ head

John Deere Australia/New Zealand’s new managing director Luke Chandler says he will prioritise leading the way in technology and investing in strong relationships.

Trade deal delivers new 'rulebook'

A new trade agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), has been described as a new rule book for trade in the Asian region.

National

Miraka picks up awards

Taupo-based Maori dairy company Miraka took the top honours at this year’s Biosecurity Awards.

Wyeth ready for new challenge

The chief executive-elect of Yili-owned Westland Milk Products Richard Wyeth says he’s looking forward to the challenge of running the…

Machinery & Products

Mixer makes feeding easy

Coolbreene Trust near Taupo is a large-scale dairy operation farming 1150ha, including run-off blocks, within a 10km radius of its…

More colour to light range

Originally available with amber lenses only, Narva’s ‘Geomax’ Heavy Duty LED Strobe Beacon light range has been upgraded with the…

State funding for recycling

Having declared in July that all farm plastics sold in New Zealand will have to be recycled or reused, the…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Avoiding listeria

OPINION: The company that makes dairy products under “The Collective” brand, and which copped a nearly $500,000 fine for failing…

Greenpeace seeing red

OPINION: Still with Greenpeace, the organisation’s push for a price on agricultural greenhouse gas emissions is gaining momentum since the…

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter