Tuesday, 12 October 2021 09:55

'Work with us through Covid'

Written by  Jessica Marshall
Farmlands new chief executive Tanya Houghton is the company's first female chief executive. Farmlands new chief executive Tanya Houghton is the company's first female chief executive.

Farmlands new chief executive says she is going back to the basics for the short-term, which includes a focus on keeping employees safe and engaged through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tanya Houghton, who took over the role last month, is the company’s first female chief executive.

She says that while she acknowledges the milestone that comes with being a woman in the role, she doesn’t believe it was the reason she was hired.

“I think the board focused on my skills and my leadership style in their decision,” she told Dairy News.

Previously, Houghton has worked as the chief executive of Mole Map New Zealand, and has held directorships with The Pet Foundation in Australia and Animates New Zealand.

“I’m really thrilled and honoured,” she says.

“In the short-term, I want to go back to the basics of the business,” Houghton says of her plans for the company. These include ensuring the company has safe and engaged people, improving customer experience and profitability.

This is a circular goal, Houghton explains, adding that safe and engaged employees lead to a good customer experience which will, in turn, lead to further profitability.

“I’m coming in with fresh eyes,” she says.

In terms of keeping those employees safe and engaged, Houghton says it’s something that, amid the current Delta outbreak, Farmlands customers can get involved in.

“We really need people to work with us through Covid,” she says. “We really need our customers to be understanding.”

She says that customers specifically need to remember and understand that some of the things the rural supplier requests of its customers are to comply with the Government’s Covid guidelines.

This includes things like remembering to wear a mask when going into the store or to pick something up from stores.

She says that Farmlands is “fortunate” because it has been classified as an essential service and is therefore available to customers during Alert Level Three and Four.

However, that can only continue if we pay attention to those guidelines.

“As we’ve seen the last couple of days, Covid pops up,” she says, referring to the recent appearance of Covid-19 cases in the Waikato.

“Our staff members are on the frontlines and they have families, that’s why it’s really important that you work with us.”

Driving Change

Farmlands chair Rob Hewett says Houghton was chosen for her ability to drive change.

"Tanya is a passionate Kiwi, committed to creating environments where diversity and equality, environment, social and governance and the concept of kaitiakitanga (guardianship) are pivotal to the corporte agenda," Hewett said when announcing her appointment.

"She will ensure that these concepts are understood and engaged in to deliver sector leadership and enhanced long-term shareholder value."

Farmlands has more than 1400 staff servicing more than 74,000 shareholders through a network of 82 stores. It has a turnover in excess of $2.5 billion.

More like this

Rising up to challenges

Dr Danny Donaghy is professor of dairy systems at Massey University and a specialist in pasture agronomy and physiology.

China lockdowns hit dairy demand

Covid restrictions in China are likely to slightly dampen milk powder imports into that country, according to Stefan Vogel, Rabobank research general manager for Australia and New Zealand.

National

Feds stalwart to step down

Outspoken Federated Farmers leader Chris Lewis is stepping down from the farmer lobby after 17 years of service.

Machinery & Products

India boosts fert subsidy

India plans to double its budgeted 2021-22 fertiliser subsidies to a record of more than 1.55 trillion rupees (US$20.64 billion)…

Kicking lameness into touch

Lameness in dairy cows can have a significant effect on a businesses' bottom line, with vets suggesting that each case…

Single row concept delivers results

While Controlled Traffic Farming (CTF) has become increasingly popular over the last decade, German company Amazone is looking to take…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Fake and cheap

OPINION: First they demanded plant-based 'milk', now they want it priced cheaper than real milk.

Cannon fodder?

OPINION: The recent high-profile Mycoplasma bovis announcement from the Government in Hamilton featured Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Agriculture Minister…

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter