Board Update March 2022

Kendall Langston 

Independent Director

Angus NZ

Last week the board met ahead of the annual conference. As with many of the meetings of the last 12 months this was disrupted by Covid-19 as was the AGM. We are all well versed in video meetings and they are fast becoming the norm. Certainly it reduces travel time and costs, although the trade-off is time spent together and face-to-face interaction.

The last 12 months has been a period of continuous change and disruption as everyone across the world has adjusted not only to Covid-19 but supply chain shortages, shipping costs, commodity price hikes, geo-political shifts, climate change, labour and skills shortages, the war for talent and some interesting government decisions! Of course the war in Europe we are currently seeing and the impact of growing inflation adds to the mix and certainly there has never been a more exciting time to be leading in business. Like all of our own businesses, change brings both challenge and opportunity and remaining agile and adaptable will allow us to not only survive but to thrive. The Board of Angus NZ has sought to intentionally evolve and change to ensure we can serve our members in the future. We don’t want to simply survive and react to change, rather we seek to intentionally grow and thrive. 

Despite the challenge, Angus NZ is in good shape. The fantastic 2021 bull sale results are clear evidence of just how our members are viewed by the industry and the value that the genetics and balanced breeding approach contributes to commercial farming outcomes. 

The board has worked hard across a number of initiatives and I summarised these at the AGM. For those that could not attend the meeting I have taken the opportunity to share them across this forum.  Key achievements over the last 12 months include;

  • A long term (ten year) vision was defined and the initial medium term and annual strategic execution plan was mapped out. This was built by not only board members but a group of younger breeding members. This has been shared across the Association and was socialised at the recent ward meeting.
  • Our GM role was finalised from a part time contractor to an employee. This de-risked the role and has allowed for long term stability. 
  • The board has worked collaboratively and is fully aligned on annual business, compliance, technical support and the future plan for success. Our subcommittees are resourced and functioning, allowing multiple lines of work to be undertaken. We have good processes as to how decisions are made after robust discussions and seeking data and good advice. 
  • We have enabled the exit for those members seeking to leave to do so in a timely and dignified manner. 
  • Our first independent director was appointed and a second may be appointed in the near future.
  • Angus NZ has reshaped the relationship and engaged with AngusPure as a key shareholder with the intent of supporting their commercial endeavours.  
  • Our ward chairs have been engaged formally and collaboratively around a number of key matters in which they have had input to the draft constitution, discussions and technical matters. 
  • As Directors we got out and traveled around the bull sales right across the country. It was a chance to meet, engage with and support our members. 
  • The new website and brand refresh was launched. One of the challenges of Angus NZ is to continue to influence the beef industry with a strong brand that represents our members.
  • Marketing platforms were created to engage and connect with our communities, sharing content, social media updates and the brand story which you will see continue to roll out over the rest of 2022.
  • One of the challenges of most organisations formed early in the last century is that the constitutions are out of date and ineffective. A new constitution was adopted by the members of Angus NZ after 3 rounds of engagement with the ward chair representatives and 2 with member submissions. This constitution should now be regularly reviewed and updated as required to ensure our association can continue to evolve and adapt given the pace and amount of change we will face in the coming years.
  • A new magazine editor was appointed and there is a fresh approach for the magazine due out in early April. We are very proud of the content and look and hope you will be too.
  • The board has engaged with Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics and with other key industry leaders providing input to key initiatives. 
  • We have worked hard to engage our sponsorships and these are now into 3 year deals rather than annual agreement. This required clarity on our value proposition and we seek a true partnership with them.
  • As a board we have actively engaged with Angus Australia as we redefine the opportunities for collaboration and thought leadership in the future. 
  • A lot of hard work and effort has been put into the clarification of and ownership of our data. The focus has been to protect our Associations IP and our members data. 
  • There are now new rules around PRAC.
  • As an association we have engaged external experts for advice around IP, data management, IT systems, marketing, Governance & Law.
  • We have delivered our annual budget.
  • There is now clarity on membership types and status.
  • Our membership fees have been reviewed and now reflect the increasing costs of running our association 
  • There is a new code of conduct for the behaviours and expectations of the board and all members have signed it. 
  • A formal Governance course is planned for July for members who wish to attend.
  • As an aligned board we have confronted difficult issues in a professional and timely manner and sought to avoid the distractions that have frustrated the majority of our members in recent times.

I think it is important to reflect and to share these achievements because by no means has it been an easy year. Change has been constant and many challenging decisions have been undertaken. We do not proclaim to get everything right and as with any organisation things don’t always work out as planned but there has been a lot of hard work by all our board members and management team.  

We have had a lot of very positive feedback since the AGM and I really encourage our members to engage with members of the board to seek feedback on decisions and why things are undertaken. We value constructive feedback and take into consideration the thoughts, ideas and concerns of our members. One of the key initiatives over the next 12 months is to lift communication and transparency across the association. We are also seeking energetic and forward looking leaders to join the board and to invest in the future of Angus NZ and this is the way to truly influence the future of the organisation and breed given that this is a team approach.

 On behalf of our Chair and members of the board I would like to thank you for your support, feedback and for stepping up to assist in so many ways.