Media Releases

​Changes to the FAR Constitution

FAR is planning to update its Constitution.

FAR is an Incorporated Society which operates under a Constitution. Following our external review and in order to ensure that we comply with new legislation governing Incorporated Societies, we plan to make amendments to the Constitution at our AGM in December. We believe that the proposed changes will enhance the governance of FAR and provide growers with greater membership rights.

Key proposed changes

  • All levy paying growers will become official members of the Incorporated Society. Members will be able to nominate themselves or other members onto their respective Arable Research Group (ARG). Members will be able to attend the AGM and table items for discussion.
  • The seven ARGs will remain in place. Each ARG will be able to nominate three ARG reps to sit on the Members Council and one ARG rep to sit on the Research and Development Advisory Committee (RDAC). ARG chairs will no longer automatically go on to the FAR Board. Regional representation will occur at the RDAC and Members Council levels and the Board will be skills based.
  • The RDAC will be made up of a representative from each of the seven ARGs and up to seven other appointed members from industry etc. The RDAC provides input into research priorities and makes recommendations to the Board and Senior Management. ARG representation on the RDAC ensures growers' voices are heard on issues of research prioritisation.
  • The Members Council (21 elected members from the ARGs) selects Board members and members of the Board Nomination and Remuneration Committee (N&RC)
  • The N&RC is a subcommittee of the Members Council that deals with board nomination and remuneration.
  • The Governance Board will be skills based. It will include five to nine Directors, of which the majority must be levy paying directors. The chair of the board will be a levy payer.
    Read proposed new Constitution here

A biosecurity GIA for the arable industry

In recent years, the Government has reviewed the New Zealand Biosecurity system and, with industry, developed the Government Industry Agreement for Biosecurity Readiness and Response (GIA) system, to manage biosecurity readiness and response in New Zealand.

In order to ensure that the arable industry has a voice under this new system, FAR has been working with industry groups to develop a GIA for the arable industry. After much discussion and consultation, an entity called Seed and Grain Readiness and Response (SGRR) has been formed to fulfil this role.

The industry proposal is that SGRR will represent FAR, Federated Farmers Arable, the Flour Millers Association, New Zealand Grain and Seed Trade Association and United Wheat Growers in negotiations with the government around biosecurity. Each of the organisations listed above will have one director on SGRR.

We hope to conclude negotiations over this process in early December, but understand that you will have a number of questions about the role of SGRR and what it means to be part of the GIA system. Please read the attached information which outlines the process to date, how the proposed SGRR would work, and what it all means. This section includes a list of Frequently Asked Questions.

SGRR GIA Information

If, after reading this, you still have questions or concerns, please email:

Alternatively, you may choose to attend a consultation meeting - times and dates are listed below and are also on the FAR events page.

Stink bug biocontrol approved

A biocontrol agent has been added to the mix to control brown marmorated stink bug if it ever gets into New Zealand.

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has formally agreed to allow the release of a tiny Samurai wasp into New Zealand, in the event of a brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) incursion.

BMSB Council Chair Alan Pollard applauded the outcome as a major milestone against one of the greatest threats to New Zealand industry and urban communities.

“The industry greatly appreciates the positive decision and acknowledges the consideration given by the EPA to the significant number of submissions made on the application. This is a significant step towards preparing for a major biosecurity risk, which is getting greater by the day, with increasing trade and tourism crossing our borders,” he said.

The Samurai wasp is the size of a poppy seed and completely harmless to humans and animals, but a natural enemy of BMSB; the female wasp lays her eggs inside those of the stink bug, killing the larvae in the process. Studies overseas have shown that the wasp can destroy over 70 percent of the eggs in a stink bug egg mass.

“The stink bug could cause hundreds of millions of dollars of losses for our industry, as well as seriously damaging quality of life for all New Zealanders.

“With the heightened awareness of biosecurity risk across New Zealand, our industry is more aware than ever that we cannot afford to be, and never will be, complacent.

“Approving the release of Samurai as a biocontrol is an excellent step but there is more work to do before the wasp is ready to be used as a tool. It’s not the silver bullet and a stink bug incursion would require a multi-faceted approach.

“We’ve seen overseas growers rely on high levels of insecticide as the primary control for BMSB and, while this wasp provides the opportunity to reduce our dependence on chemicals, a full response will require every weapon in our armoury.”

Permission to release the wasp will be subject to a number of strict controls that will dictate when, where, and by whom it can be released.

BMSB feeds on a huge range of arable and horticultural crops including wheat, maize, peas and beans. A NZIER report, commissioned by the Samurai Wasp Steering Group, has estimated that gross domestic product would fall by between $1.8 billion and $3.6b by 2038 if BMSB became established. It also estimated the horticulture export value could fall by between $2b and $4.2b.

About the BMSB Council
The BMSB Council is a partnership under GIA between industry and government and is responsible for BMSB readiness and response. The Council consists of member organisations (Horticulture New Zealand, Kiwifruit Vine Health, Ministry for Primary Industries, New Zealand Avocado, New Zealand Apples & Pears, New Zealand Winegrowers, Summerfruit New Zealand, Tomatoes New Zealand, Vegetables New Zealand) and observers (Foundation for Arable Research and New Zealand Plant Producers Inc).

New referendum period begins for FAR

FAR has officially entered it's seventh term of “adding value to the business of cropping”.

The new levy orders for the arable industry came into force this week, following sign-off by the Governor General after last year’s successful referendum.

FAR CEO Alison Stewart says she is looking forward to the next six years of developing FAR’s research and extension focus to ensure all programmes continue to meet the evolving needs of the industry.

"We will continue to maintain a balanced portfolio of production, environmental and social research, and to monitor national and international trends and developments in order to identify issues which may have an impact on arable farm productivity and profitability. Obvious things to consider at present are biosecurity, greenhouse gas emissions, plant proteins and agrichemical availability and use."

Last year’s vote covered all three FAR levies. Results were: Arable crops, 90% support; Maize, 78% support and Cereal silage, 66% support.

FAR Profile Book

Federated Farmers' Arable Award Winners

Congratulations Nick Pyke and Syd Worsfold.

Former Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) CEO Nick Pyke was presented with the Federated Farmers Arable Biosecurity Farmer of the Year Award and North Canterbury farmer Syd Worsfold was named Federated Farmers Arable Farmer of the Year in recognition of his contribution over the last three decades to the arable industry and stakeholder groups, Federated Farmers, FAR and United Wheatgrowers.

Newly-elected Arable chairperson Karen Williams said Nick Pyke has always been a strong advocate for farmers and growers over biosecurity at three borders: national, regional and the farm gate.

"He has been involved in the Velvetleaf, pea weevil and Blackgrass responses, sitting on both the Governance Group and in a number of industry stakeholder groups. He’s also been actively involved in developing a strong and viable GIA framework for the cropping industry.

"Nick has a strong sense of what are the right management decisions to make for the overall industry, but also has a lot of empathy for growers and how decisions will affect them on the ground," Karen said.

Federated Farmers National Biosecurity spokesperson Guy Wigley said Nick was outstanding in each of the responses the arable industry was involved in over the last three years and the award acknowledged his efforts.

"Nick was able to provide credible scientific information to aid in the response decision-making and ensure the best outcomes for arable farmers were achieved," Guy said.

The Arable Farmer of the Year Award is about recognising excellence in the sector, acknowledging someone who balances production and profit drivers against environmental, sustainability and other compliance requirements. Syd Worsfold fits that bill.

Feds Arable Vice-Chair Brian Leadley said Syd has worked extensively "not only for the betterment of his own arable farming business but also his peers and future generations of arable farmers".

Syd, who today farms 400 hectares at Greendale in partnership with his son, has been involved with Federated Farmers as North Canterbury Arable Chairperson (1992 to 1994) and then on the Arable Council. He has been involved with United Wheatgrowers for the last 30 years, first as an Electoral College member and then a Director. Syd was also part of the first committee which looked at establishing the Foundation for ArableResearch (FAR), and a member of the Northern South Island Arable Research Group (ARG). He has also been a member of the Arable Industry Marketing Initiative Committee (AIMI) since its inception.

The Federated Farmers outgoing Arable Chairperson Guy Wigley described Syd as a quiet, unassuming and effective leader.

"This award is in recognition of his achievements, leadership and contribution to the arable industry, which despite contributing around $750 million to the nation’s GDP, typically flies under the radar in New Zealand".

Federated Farmers