The “mythology” of regenerative agriculture and lack of scientific evidence has prompted two renowned plant scientists to write to Ag Minister Damien O’Connor.
"The changes introduced this year include a shortened six-month programme and a second course starting in June," says Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme general manager Anne Hindson.
Twenty-three participants have enrolled under the new structure, which includes three residential components and an industry-based project.
"The previous model was an 11-month programme with one residential module in January and another in November, causing issues for some of the large sectors. A January course is difficult for those in arable and horticulture sectors, particularly if they are hands-on farmers," says Hindson.
Field trips are another new initiative, giving participants the opportunity to visit different producers and businesses in the larger sectors.
"This is linked to syndicate work, where strategy and leadership are explored in the context of visited organisations," Hindson says.
Programme participants are selected to ensure a varied mix in terms of sector, age, gender, and geographical location.
According to Hindson the cross-sector mix encourages greater knowledge of the New Zealand primary industries and builds networks
"As well as people from the dairy, red meat, horticulture and arable industries, there is a large group from the agri-business sector including bankers, consultants and vets working in rural communities," She says.
Hindson says the course provides the tools and knowledge necessary for leadership success in the primary sector. However, she adds, the programme relies on industry support and sponsorship.