13 Aug 2012

Primary-sector leaders off to boot camp in California

7:15 am on 13 August 2012

Many of the leading lights of the primary sector have gone to California this week for a giant brainstorming session.

About 20 senior executives from the dairy, meat, seafood, wine and horticulture sectors are among those attending a week-long boot camp at Stanford University.

New Zealand Merino Company chief executive John Brackenridge, who initiated the camp, wants to see companies break out of their silo mentality and explore ways in which they can co-operate, as well as compete.

Primary Industries Minister David Carter, who will be there for four days, says getting a group representing about 80% of New Zealand primary exports together in this way is a golden opportunity.

He says some world-class speakers will be coming into inspire the group and it's likely they'll come back fired up and keen to share ideas with the rest of the primary sector.

Mr Carter says senior government officials will also be represented, including the director-general of the Ministry for Primary Industries and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise's chief executive.

He says he will also hold talks with agricultural political leaders and officials in the US.

The Agriculture and Marketing Research and Development Trust is sponsoring the camp with a grant of $100,000.