Having ownership of the lease of the North Canterbury farm gives the organisation the ability to push boundaries without compromising the management objectives of other financial stakeholders.
Dan Brier, B+LNZ’s General Manager - Farming Excellence, says the change in structure was a mutual and amicable decision by all parties.
Former partners Simon Lee and Carl Forrester will continue to be involved with the farm and will help ensure the programme remains grounded in solving the issues farmers face.
He says B+LNZ is very grateful to the pair for the work they have done in getting the Future Farm established from what was a zero base.
“Thanks to their work, the farm is now in a good position to go ahead and meet its original objectives of being a testing ground for new technologies and farm systems within a commercial farming framework.”
Manager Digby Heard will continue in his role, assisted by shepherd Oliver Keast.
Farm consultant Jansen Travis, who has been providing advice to the Lanercost management team, will take a more active role in overseeing the operation.
Dan says the idea of the Future Farm is to give B+LNZ a commercial farm to test and understand new technologies and innovations on behalf of farmers.
“It allows B+LNZ to take a bit of a risk investing in new equipment or ideas that individual farmers might not have the ability to test on their own farms. We know that farmers learn best when they can see a new idea ‘in the flesh’, and Lanercost allows us to do that.”
He says since the beginning of the programme in 2018, the changing regulatory rules which all farmers are subject to, means that a new use of the Future Farm is to demonstrate to farmers and regulators the impact of the new rules at a whole farm level, while investigating tools and techniques that farmers can use to meet the new regulations.
As an example, Lanercost has been used as a prototype for B+LNZ’s new farm planning tools.
Dan says part of the decision to take total ownership of the lease were the raft of environmental regulations that were coming at the sector.
“This will let us test ways to deal with the new rules on farms, for farmers.” he says.
“The new structure gives B+LNZ more freedom to push boundaries and test tools, resources and management techniques that help farmers address these regulations without compromising productivity and profitability.”