Ballance Agri-Nutrients has started building their new hub in Whangarei, after a pre-dawn ceremony to bless the site yesterday.
The co-operative has announced a $50/tonne rebate for 2021 to its 17,500 shareholders on the back of strong financial returns.
Revenue before rebate for the year was $897 million and total sales volume for the year, including nutrient products, animal feeds and industrial ingredients, increased to 1.55 million tonnes.
Ballance chief executive Mark Wynne says the solid result was achieved despite a year of uncertainty around the globe and locally across rural New Zealand.
He claims the result has been achieved using "clever science and innovation" to help farmers and growers adapt to changing consumer demands, environmental requirements, and government policies.
"The world has changed a lot in the past 12 months, but the challenges to kiwi food producers remain the same to feed a global population while protecting our natural resources," Wynne says.
"We are in a strong position to help farmers and growers continue to be productive and sustainable and our results show that they are benefiting from this."
He says farming and growing are influenced by an evolving consumer and social landscape as well as changing government policies.
"We are committed to providing tools, services and advice to help them adapt and thrive and we know they appreciate it."
Wynne believes innovation has been a key factor in providing the solutions, with the Government agreeing to co-fund Ballance's $25 million Future Ready Farms programme over five years.
The programme consists of 12 projects aimed at helping farmers and growers meet their national environmental targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, agrichemical use and nutrient loss to waterways.
This year, the company launched Ballance with Nature, a promise to support farmers and growers, across seven pillars, to be future-ready and enable them to protect their natural resources.
"As farmers and growers, our customers are guardians of the land, and we see it as our role to help them protect it for the next generation," Wynne adds.
He points to the co-op's sustainable phosphate fertiliser SurePhos, which was launched in 2020, which aims to help farmers reduce nutrient loss to waterways and customer demand has exceeded expectations.
Wynne adds that as well as helping farmers and growers reduce their environmental footprint, Ballance is also making its own operations 'greener.'
He says the company's joint venture with Hiringa Energy to produce 'green' hydrogen, which will provide a carbon-neutral fuel for the transport sector as well as a 'greener' nitrogen fertiliser, is progressing well and should be up and running by early 2023.
Meanwhile, Ballance chair Duncan Coull says the business had navigated a year of global uncertainly well, which the strong results reflect.
"In a tumultuous year, including Covid-19-related impacts such as global freight delays and severe weather events here in New Zealand, we have worked hard to minimise impacts to customers," says Coull.