Ruapehu Press

Columns
Wednesday, October 21, 2015

I recently attended the opening of H & T Agronomics' new site in Feilding, which includes a state of-the-art seed and grain treatment plant. H & T is a privately owned, rurally focused business that's been operating for 12 years.

In that time it has gone from strength to strength.

The new technology enables individual seeds and grains to be accurately coated with multiple treatments in a single operation.

These treatments are important in terms of improving plant vigour and yields, as well as boosting root development and reducing disease.

The latest diversification represents an expansion of H & T's core business from being solely focused on seed sales and agronomy advice to being a onestop-shop plant and animal nutrition advisory business.

The company has 11 cropping and forage specialists that cover a significant area from Wellington to just south of the Bombay Hills and across to Taranaki in the west and Hawkes Bay in the east.

They also do some work in the South Island.

It's certainly great to see a local business successfully expanding, diversifying and investing in new technology in order to meet market demand.

For me a story like H & T's is about the potential for growth in this region, and also the innovation, technology, skills and expertise involved in agribusiness.

Businesses like this represent the best of rural and provincial New Zealand.

In particular they are forward thinking, progressive operations.

They employ graduates, have a real focus on staff training and development, and a business strategy that includes significant investment in research and development.

The proposed deal between Silver Fern Farms and Shanghai Maling, which will see the Chinese owned company invest $261 million in return for a 50% stake in the company has the unanimous support of the Silver Fern Farms' Board.

They believe the deal will grow the value of what they do here, as well as strengthen the company's global strategy and provide better access into the Chinese market.

I believe the proposed venture is one that has significant potential.

It will effectively recapitalise the whole meat industry and allow for a more promising outlook.

Speaking of deals, I couldn't sign off without mentioning the much-discussed Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement which was agreed in principle last week.

It's important to remember that these negotiations have been a work in progress under successive Governments for the past 20 or so years in terms of foreign and international trade policy.

In fact Helen Clark and Phil Goff picked it up and ran with it initially.

Since 2008 National has carried that momentum forward.

Certainly for a small island trading nation with a population of $4.4 million it would be inconceivable for us not to be a part of a trade initiative that includes 800 million people and 40% of the world's GDP.