Meeting Summary with Damien O'Connor, Tuesday 24 September

Chris Garland, Sully Alsop and Sarah Donaldson met with Damien O’Connor on Tuesday 24 September to outline the concerns raised in an Open Letter to Senior Ministers.

Key messages in the meeting with Minister O’Connor are summarised in the attached briefing sheet that was left with the Minister and his Officials.


Summary Notes

For Damien O’Connor, Minister of Primary Industries

Tuesday 23rd September 2019


Chris Garland –                                 Director BakerAg

Sully Alsop –                                      Director of BakerAg and full-time farmer

Sarah Donaldson                             Counsellor – East Coast Rural Support Trust



Thank you for changing narrative


The Impact of Policy on PEOPLE


  • Cumulative effect significant policy/events affecting rural sector last 3 years
    • Dairy downturn
    • M Bovis
    • Banking finance to dairy
    • Fonterra
    • Regional Council FW Plans
    • Healthy Homes Bill
    • One Billion Trees Programme
    • Zero carbon Bill
    • National Fresh Water Plan


  • Overwhelmed: Rate and magnitude of change
  • Major restructuring for farm businesses. Complex biological processes. Don’t change overnight.
  • Submission process intimidating
  • Alienated from normal society (“Social Licence to Farm”)
  • Questioning value to society and economy?
  • Depression and suicide rates in sector rising



  • Change the narrative (below)
  • Create Heroes for what best practice looks like– Role Models
  • Extend the perceived timeframe
  • Stagger the timeframes (High impact policies first)
  • Define Integrated Farm Plans and make them a positive exercise for landowners
  • Develop concepts like Regenerative Agriculture
  • Working Parties of farmers to develop workable and practical solutions by farm class / region, to achieve the same outcomes.
  • Make farmers part of the solution.


Chris Garland    BakerAg               [email protected]     0274379834               

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