23 Oct 2014

Landcorp more diverse, says acting chair

4:29 pm on 23 October 2014

The acting chair of the state-owned farming enterprise Landcorp says there is a lot more to it than many realise.

Traci Haupapa, who chairs the Federation of Maori Authorities (FOMA), among other governance and ministerial appointments, recently won a Women of Influence Award - the DLA Phillips Fox Board and Management Award.

Ms Haupapa said Landcorp Farming has been through a rigorous strategic review.

As well as aiming to be a more efficient and profitable farmer, it is also looking at new ways to diversify into areas including sheep milking, honey production and further partnerships with Maori farming interests and others.

"Landcorp fulfills its role and function in terms of holding some properties as part of the Government Treaty settlement strategy process, so under the protected land acts and also under the current regime we hold properties that may be considered by claimants for their settlement process and outcomes," she said.

"In the meantime, we have 137 farms that we are required to farm to the best of our ability with the best possible returns and I think people look at Landcorp as a farming corporate and arguably the largest.

"I think what people fail to see is that we are regional stakeholders in terms of the local economy, that we contribute in terms of those various communities where we have farms, and we are also part of that growing movement around environmentally sound, sustainable farm management - our philosophy, so there's more to Landcorp than meets the eye."

Traci Haupapa said Landcorp is also playing a significant role in training and farm management and that is extending more into partnerships with Maori farming enterprises.

"Our farm management and technology systems are being applied in the wider context of our emerging partnerships with Maori, iwi and post-settlement claimant groups, and so there is an opportunity there for us to assist, for example, newly settled iwi in terms of their understanding of farm management, farming systems and techology," she said.

"A classic example of that are the Pouaru farms on Hauraki Plains, where the Hauraki collective has settled and bought some of Landcorp's farms. So we have a continuing relationship in terms of farming and systems and technology, assisting that transition and handover, if you like. In the Far North, we also have another partnership with Maori and iwi around Sweetwaters.

"I think that there are some obvious synergies between Maori authorities and agribusiness and what Landcorp's doing. Increasingly, Landcorp sees opportunity and mutual benefit to be working along side of Maori and iwi."

Landcorp Farming more than doubled its profit for the past year to $30 million, mainly off the back of record milk prices.

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