Notice of Election
2020 Board of Directors Election
Nominations are called for candidates to stand for election for the director position to represent Area 3 as described below. Stuart Wright is the incumbent director for Area 3 and will retire by rotation later this year. At the date of that retirement Stuart will have served the maximum 12 year term of office so will not be eligible to stand for re-election.
Area 3 encompasses the Banks Peninsula, Waimakariri, Selwyn Districts, Christchurch City, Hurunui, Kaikoura, Marlborough, Tasman, Westland, Grey, Buller Districts, and Nelson City.
Nominations must be made on the official form, which can be obtained from the Returning Officer. Each nomination form must be signed by the candidate and two nominators who must be transacting shareholders of Ravensdown and who are eligible to vote for the Area 3 election. Nominations must be received by the Returning Officer by 5pm on Friday 31 July 2020.
For further information or nomination documents please contact the election helpline 0800 666 031 or email email@example.com
Returning Officer - Ravensdown Limited PO Box 3138, Christchurch 8140
Nominations for the Ravensdown director position in Central South Island close on 31 July. You don’t need to be a farmer or from the region but you do have to be nominated by at least two shareholders.
From the farm to the boardroom
Farming already seems challenging without the oversight role of becoming a director and joining the boardroom.
Ravensdown talked to two of its directors, Deputy Chairman Stuart Wright and Area 2 Director Nicky Hyslop, to find out what’s it like to be a farmer in the boardroom.
How do farmers make a good fit for a board?
Stuart: In my experience farmers make very good directors. Most farming businesses require their owners to be right across all areas of management and decision making which gives farmers a good understanding and empathy with what works and what doesn’t. These are all great skills to bring to a board table.
Nicky: Ravensdown and the supply of nutrients for optimal soil health and plant growth is a critical part of smarter farming. It is therefore important that the co-op remains relevant to its farmer clients and shareholders. Having board members elected by farmers and growers enables direct continuous feedback and insights to ensure this happens.
Do you need previous governance experience to be an effective representative?
Nicky: Not necessarily but it does help. Ravensdown is a large agribusiness with a requirement for strong professional governance. Being elected by shareholders to a co-operative doesn’t mean you have a lighter set of legal obligations than any other director. So Ravensdown offers training around the legal obligations and liabilities. Ravensdown offers fantastic support to all new board members through an induction program and continuous professional development.
Aren’t board positions normally filled by suit-wearing businesspeople?
Stuart: I can’t remember the last time I wore a suit to a board meeting. For any board to be effective it needs diversity of opinion and skills. I can assure you that suit wearing businesspeople often don’t always meet those basic requirements. The best attributes anyone can bring is an enquiring mind and an ability to ask questions. I’ve always believed the old adage ‘never be afraid to ask the dumb question.’
Nicky: Farmers are businesspeople, some with very large businesses. Ravensdown has a diversity of board members from independents, small to large scale farmers, dairy, sheep and beef, horticulture and arable backgrounds, science and finance and an increasing balance of female and males. This diversity encourages broad and critical thinking to covers the wide range of challenges and opportunities the board is presented with.
I don’t speak business jargon – would the board still appreciate my perspective?
Stuart: The best attribute anyone can bring to the board is plain speaking. If people start speaking business jargon, it’s a great time for the ‘dumb’ question!
Nicky: While the business of Ravensdown is a very important part of our governance role, it is not the only part of strategic decisions the board must deliberate and make decisions about. Smarter farming for a better NZ covers a wide range of services that Ravensdown provides including fertiliser, soil fertility monitoring and advice, animal health, seeds and agronomic advice. Our direction of travel within these areas and ensuring we partner with farmers to assist in achieving good environmental outcomes is really important.
I don’t want an extra responsibility to distract me from my farm – is there a lot of paperwork?
Stuart: Workloads vary as a director during the year but it is a big commitment. Preparation is important to ensure you as a director can meaningfully contribute and that does take time. In my experience you have to manage your time so that both your farm and your role as a director don’t suffer. You don’t always get it right, but if you can’t see a way to manage that conflict then the job probably isn’t for you.
Nicky: There is a commitment for reading but overall it’s less about paperwork and more about the real opportunity to set the tone for the whole organisation via the CEO and Leadership team. Directors have a great role both in terms of networking and considering emerging trends. You feel like a team player, and you are valued for your individual thoughts and inquisitive mind.
Nicky Hyslop farms a sheep, beef and arable irrigated property just outside of Timaru. Nicky joined the Ravensdown board last year and is a representative for Area 2. She has 15 years of governance experience including directorships with Beef + Lamb, Irrigation New Zealand and Opuha Water.
Stuart Wright farms 330ha west of Christchurch growing arable crops, seed potatoes and finishing lambs. He is director of Central Plains Water and Chair of Potatoes New Zealand. He is standing down from the Ravensdown board because he has reached the maximum term of 12 years serving as director for Central South Island.