Looking to build on co-operation

Phil McKenzie, of Wellington, pictured near Mossburn recently, has been named as the Deer...
Phil McKenzie, of Wellington, pictured near Mossburn recently, has been named as the Deer Industry New Zealand’s new manager farm performance. He is originally from a farm in Gummies Bush. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
During his time in the deer industry, Phil McKenzie has been particularly impressed with how deer farmers share innovations and ideas.

That is something he intends to build on as Deer Industry New Zealand’s (DINZ) new manager farm performance.

He will be managing the on-farm components of the industry’s Primary Growth Partnership programme, Passion2Profit (P2P), as well as the development of DINZ’s "farm-facing services".

Mr McKenzie spent his early years on a farm in Gummies Bush, near Riverton, but moved away when he was young.

He has since worked throughout New Zealand and overseas with both sheep and beef farmers and deer farmers, and is now based in Wellington.

"I have been working with deer farmers in different roles for 15 to 20 years, and also with Pamu Farms (as a general manager with responsibility for the environment) as they have quite a few deer."

For the past 12 months he worked part-time on the DINZ’s P2P project as its environment project manager.

"With others in the DINZ team, I have been helping groups of farmers complete their farm environment plans."

He was involved with establishing the Deer Industry Environment Group (DIEG) in Fiordland and Central Otago.

He also organised workshops in Southland to help farmers get started on their environment plans in association with Environment Southland and Beef + Lamb New Zealand.

"I like deer and the way they are farmed and the way the industry has grown. I really like working with deer farmers as I always find them innovative and collaborative. There is a lot of sharing of ideas and working together.

"Deer farmers are already doing some good things and it is a matter of extending that to more and more farmers, and collectively, as an industry, to make changes," he said.

Within a group meeting, one deer farmer might mention something they were trialling or starting to do.

"Other farmers start asking questions straight away, wanting to know more. Farmers learn from and trust other farmers and they give each other support to have a go."

A new project was being developed with DINZ’s DeerPRO, to better utilise the extensive amount of data collected during the Johne’s Disease management project.

The P2P project has had funding for the past five years, with another two to go, and he is keen to see it continue to evolve to enable deer farmers to make even more improvements and innovations to their businesses.

Environmental consultant, Nicola McGrouther, of Creekside Consulting, Banks Peninsula, had recently been employed for a day a week to provide additional resources for Southland and Otago farmers and she will also be working on various projects in the region.

Mr McKenzie intended organising a field day for Otago and Southland farmers later in the year.

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