Muster lays down the challenge for the decade ahead

June 9, 2017

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Two words were heard more than any others at the 10th anniversary Headwaters Muster on 1 and 2 June in Timaru.

Resilient and adaptability. ‘Resilient adaptability’ was the theme, a reference to the fact that resilience alone is not enough for Headwaters farmers to reach their potential.

There were strong messages on the need for adaptability from all speakers. Internationally renowned futurist Roger Dennis highlighted the effect of technological and social change on consumer attitudes and behaviour. Lone Star Farms owner Tom Sturgess talked about the challenges of the direct-to-food service strategy for Te Mana Lamb. Alliance CEO David Surveyor outlined the various adaptations underway within Alliance, Headwaters farmers talked about their adaptations on farm and two leading chefs were upfront about how things are changing in their kitchens.

Roger Dennis said the future belongs to those who are able to see what others do not.

“In our increasingly specialised world we tend to be trained to look for specific things, but the real opportunities and threats often lie in what we haven’t necessarily been trained to observe. This is compounded by the sheer rate of change around us, and requires both peripheral vision and an eye on the future,” Roger said.

General Manager Ian Hercus picked up on this to say the onus was on Headwaters to maintain the spirit of a start-up.

“We need to be nimble, challenging and even a bit restless. Ten years ago we started with a blank piece of paper and we need to be just as open-minded and committed to experiment and discovery in our second decade.

“If our first 10 years were about productivity and performance gains, our second 10 will be about value gains.

“We now have the levers necessary to generate this value by producing exactly what consumers want. We need to use these levers for what customers really care about – taste, health, and animal and environmental health and wellbeing.”


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