Agribusiness Field Trip

By Jill Armstrong | Posted: Wednesday March 18, 2020

What an amazing day we had! Our focus for the day was on strategies for Future Proofing and to investigate a range of careers within the primary sector.

Sam Lind gave us an overview of and why it has become so important for businesses to be protected from fraud. Sam was born in Palmerston and has a PhD in Chemistry. We were invited into the boardroom where he gave a presentation about the Company. It was fascinating to discover that a product (food, fibre or pharmaceutical) can be traced and verified from anywhere along the supply chain. They use science-based data to create a 3-D chemical fingerprint image of a product. Oritain tests samples from all around the world and has offices in other countries. They have developed a sample library and can test new products from this. For example - is this sample of lamb from Central Otago or Northland? - is this New Zealand honey? - is this Egyptian cotton? Students asked a variety of questions. Sam advised the students to always be ‘self-aware’ of their strengths and weaknesses so they can make good future decisions.

Sam also spoke about Oritain’s marketing strategies including assisting businesses to reduce risk and protect their brands. They also provide a non-price attribute to the business which, in a crowded market gives integrity. A recent successful partnership with Country Road to promote Australian merino wool resulted in stock selling out 50% earlier than expected. The promotion included a Social Media video of the story behind the wool (“A Good Yarn”), a press release and large shop displays. The message portrayed successfully connected the people with the product by showing it was developed with care and showed the origin of the wool. Sam believes a strategy for future focused businesses is to “keep close to the customers” and for agri-evolution to occur businesses must “understand the customer”.

We were impressed by the well-known brands that Oritain is working alongside including, Gucci, Stella MacCartney, Country Road, Silverfern Farms, Lewis Road Creamery, International Serum, to name a few. They are the global leader in this field.

University Campus tour – The students went on a tour of the campus and successfully secured some free giveaways in the process.

Huntly Road Dairies – Anne-Marie and Duncan Wells run a highly successful dairy farm on the Taieri Plains. In 2015 they won the highly prestigious award of Dairy Farm of the Year. Anne-Marie spoke to the students about the business side of the business including staffing, finances, environmental issues, costs of production, health & safety procedures, and future proofing. Duncan was brought up on a dairy farm and has a thorough knowledge of the industry. He told the students about the herd, milking times and procedure, temperature regulation, transportation of milk, etc… Other staff members explained their roles on the farm. Our visit was timed to observe the milking process in action and the students were amazed how quiet the cows were. This was an interesting and enjoyable visit.

So far, the students have gained an immense amount of knowledge about agribusinesses which they will process and continue to build upon as the year progresses.