A cut above the rest
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Event info and speaker bios

Speaker Bios

Vangelis Vitalis - Deputy Secretary, Trade and Economic

Vangelis Vitalis is Deputy Secretary, Trade and Economic. He was the APEC2021 Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) Chair for New Zealand’s host year and in 2023 Vangelis will be chairing the Senior Officials' process that supports the CPTPP Ministerial meetings. 

Vangelis was also the Chief Negotiator who led the conclusion of negotiations for the New Zealand European Union Free Trade Agreement and before that the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. In 2007-9, Vangelis was also the Chief Negotiator who concluded the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) and the Malaysia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (MNZFTA). 

Prior to taking up his role in Wellington in 2017, Vangelis was New Zealand’s Permanent Representative (Ambassador) to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva where he chaired the agriculture negotiations in a personal capacity. In this role he helped draft the text of the historic Nairobi WTO Ministerial Decision to eliminate agricultural export subsidies. Vangelis has also been the Ambassador to the European Union and NATO in Brussels and has had postings to Canberra and Moscow.

Vangelis has worked outside the Ministry including as an economist in the Secretariat of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). He is a past member of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Future Council on Trade and is currently a member of the WEF Trade and Investment Action Group and is also on the Steering Committee for the WEF Climate Trade Zero initiative. He has chaired in a personal capacity the OECD Committee on Trade and the Environment (2008-2017), the OECD Global Forum on Trade and Climate Change and is currently the New Zealand Envoy for the Small Advanced Economies’ Initiative.

A keen saltwater land-based fisherman, Vangelis is married with three children and speaks Greek, German and Russian. He is a longstanding (and suffering) supporter of the Wellington Phoenix Football Club.

Follow Vangelis on Twitter @VangelisVNZ

Sam Mander and Charlotte Senior - Co-Founders at Agri Intel

About Agri Intel

Agri Intel supports New Zealand farmers using strategic development initiatives that improve the value and sustainability of farming businesses. We offer specialist agribusiness expertise to help farm, horticulture and forestry businesses address increasing regulatory and market-driven challenges.

Agri Intel was established in 2022 by Charlotte Senior and Sam Mander. Based in Canterbury, our client base extends throughout New Zealand, including farm businesses, irrigation companies, agribusinesses, industry bodies, and central and local government.

Our approach

  • Future-focused, pragmatic, effective, solutions-based advice.
  • Strong focus on farm productivity, profitability, and sustainability, and optimising rural businesses.
  • Empower clients to position themselves for the future.
  • Involve farmers in the process – collaborative, educational and non-confrontational approach.
  • Flexibility, to tailor an approach to an individual needs – one size does not fit all!

Our services

  • Farm environmental consulting
  • Farm strategic planning
  • Forestry and Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) consulting
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) Management
  • Farm Mapping & Aerial Imagery

Follow Agi Intel on Facebook

Harry Millar - Rural Consulting

Harry Millar is a Senior Farm Consultant with Rural Consulting who specialises in environmental management, farm production planning, and analysis. With a strong academic background in Geography, Geology, and Environmental Management, Harry has a unique ability to combine theory and practice to provide practical solutions to his clients. He is a Certified Nutrient Management Advisor and Farmax Elite accredited user, with extensive experience in biodiversity enhancement, Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) advice, and environmental policy. Harry is committed to helping farmers find sustainable solutions that achieve success in a changing world.

Grant Bunting - General Manager of Systems and Supply at ANZCO Foods

Grant joined ANZCO Foods in 2016 and is the General Manager of Systems and Supply looking after livestock procurement, farms, supply chain and ICT.

He was born in Southland and worked in various farming and rural roles after leaving school, and while studying at Lincoln University. His work experience covers a range of industries including agriculture, ICT, and manufacturing. Grant has also farmed on the Banks Peninsula and North Canterbury.

Outside work, Grant enjoys hunting, fishing, and horse racing.

Shannon Parnham - Head of Livestock at ANZCO Foods

Shannon is Head of Livestock for ANZCO Foods whose role encompasses Livestock procurement and livestock quality assurance.

Shannon has been in the primary sector for 13 years with previous experience in banking and electricity infrastructure.

Shannon was brought up on a farm with his parents still farming near Mt Somers.

Valerie Walpot - Senior Quality Assurance Advisor at ANZCO Foods

Originally from Belgium, I grew up alongside my farming mother. I emigrated after doing a degree in Agricultural Production in the Netherlands.

I joined ANZCO in December 2021. Prior to this I was a farm manager for an intensive beef and lamb finishing farm in Kirwee, Canterbury. I am passionate about animal and pastoral production. In my time on farm I completed a Kellogg Rural Leadership programme focusing on supporting environmental sustainability in the red meat sector. I enjoy helping farmers and thrive on working on contributing to a better future for our beautiful red meat industry.

What do we do?

In our roles we ensure livestock suppliers meet all the necessary quality assurance requirements to regulatory, statutory and market standards. We are the bridge between farm and market access.

Mark Chrystall - Director at Spring Farms (NZ) Limited

Mark is a director of Spring Farms (NZ) Limited, together with his brother Richard and Robert Collier and have been since 2008. Spring Farms leases 2550 ha from three different entities. The company is very much a hybrid model, only owning stock and plant being very strong on family values complemented with strong corporate governance.

The company is a sheep and beef enterprise running approx. 30,000 stock units made up of 18,000 sheep and 2000 cattle. We are classified as a breeder/finisher, finishing all progeny to specific market requirements. They fatten 18,000 lambs a year which are sold through the ANZCO network. 700 head of cattle are finished with a big focus on Marbling which are sold predominately into the US market.

Spring Farms has an ongoing focus on environmental sustainability and were recognised in the 2014 Ballance Farm Environmental awards winning three different awards. Three years ago, Mark became involved in the establishment of the Rangitikei Rivers Community Catchments which is a group focused on setting up farmer-initiated River Catchment groups with a bottom-up approach to lifting Sustainability initiatives across the Rangitikei region. Last year, his local Moawhango River Catchment group was awarded the Catchment of the Year in the Horizons Balance Farm Environmental Awards.

He is the Chairman of his local Rabobank Client Council and enjoys several other governance roles within the wider farming industry.

He is married to Jane and has two children; Emma is 24 and completed her Agricultural Science degree at Lincoln University. She is now working in Hawkes Bay as an agronomist with Farmlands. Jack is 19 and in his second year at Lincoln University studying a Bachelor of Agricultural Commerce.  

Stuart Fraser, Sheep and Beef Farmer at Mt Benger

Mt Benger is a hill-country, breeding finishing operation in North Canterbury.

Stuart is a sheep and beef farmer on the family-owned property alongside his wife, three children and two full-time staff.

The Frasers have been supplying ANZCO since the CMP days and were one of the first in the Waitrose contract 25 years ago.

Fraser Avery, Bonavaree Farm

Fraser runs Bonavaree, which sits near Lake Grassmere in Marlborough and has been in the family for more than 103 years. The property is 2,500ha, with a mix of flat to rolling and steep erosion prone hill country. Bonavaree carries up to 20,000 stock units including sheep and beef breeding/finishing, Friesian bull beef, fine wool lambs and some dairy grazing.

Fraser will discuss his interest in the NZ Farm Assurance Plus program, the opportunities it presents and the wider benefits to the whole farm system.

Julia Jones - Global relevance, Community success

Never really living in the moment but always being excited about the future is what drives Julia Jones. Change is inevitable and she works hard to help others have confidence in navigating an uncertain future.    

Her time working with KPMG fuelled her curiosity and passion for global macro trends and their impact on NZ’s prosperity.    

Julia has had a series of highlights over her career, the reality is however her lowlights which are not typically included in bio’s have delivered some of the most impactful opportunities for growth.    

 Highlights include:    

  • Chairing Meat the Need, a food security charity, Current
  • Winning the emerging leader scholarship to attend Stanford University, 2017
  • Working in Russia, 2014
  • AWDT Escalator Program, 2011
  • Completing the Harvard Agri Seminar in China, 2010  

Ruth McRae, Rutherglen

After completing a BCom Ag at Lincoln University joined her husband Daryl on his Wendon Valley sheep and beef farm. After adding some small blocks they sold these properties to move to a larger more extensive property, Gladsmuir, in the Middlemarch area. After farming there for 8 years the decision was made to look for another property with less vulnerability to drought. They then farmed in the Gore/Kaiwera area for a further 8 years until 2018 when they sold and moved to Rutherglen in the Lawrence area which they felt would provide a good balance of scope and climate as well as scale to allow for farm succession.

Rutherglen is a hill property which required significant pasture renewal and fencing, it has a long boundary on the Waitahuna river which has been extensively riparian planted since takeover. Erosion in the form of slips after heavy rain and dry summers and autumns are climatic factors to manage. Ruth is involved in the South Otago River Care group.

In 2019 the Longdown terminal sire stud was added into the business and in 2020 son Duncan returned and is now managing the business and he is also leasing a neighbouring property Maranui as of September 2022.

Sam Barton, Montana Pastoral Ltd. 

Two-time West Otago two tooth competition winners Sam and Liz Barton, are equity partners with Jenny and Phil McGimpsey in Montana Pastoral Ltd. It is a sheep and cattle breeding and finishing operation, on 553 ha rolling hill country ranging from 458 – 736 m above sea level. They run 4500 sheep and 75 Angus breeding cows.

Their business goals are clear: to produce to a very high standard while minimising environmental impact. Equally important is achieving a work-life balance, so there’s a big focus on spending quality time with friends and family. In their own words, wealth is one thing, but life-rich is everything. 

Read more on them in the Country Wide via this link:

Cancelling the cost creep – NZ Farm Life Media – Down to earth

Simon Stokes, Rural Professional - Environmental Scientist/Consultant

Simon has been working with and for farmers and the primary sector for nearly 27 years providing work and advice on farming and the environment. He has in-depth experience and knowledge of farm planning, soils, catchment scale management and programmes, soil conservation and working with iwi and the community.  

While currently working in the Our Land and Water Science Challenge Transition Pathways programme ‘revitalising te Taiao’, and managing a landscape scale predator free project for Ngāti Awa, he delivers Land Use Capability workshops training participants in its use, application, and the field mapping of a farms physical resources, primarily for benefitting farming businesses and their planning purposes.

In relation to New Zealand Farm Assurance Programme Plus, in 2019/2020 he co-delivered the RMPP pilot study project with farmers throughout NZ, to test and develop the potential for the implementation of a quality assurance programme for the Red Meat Industry and Beef and Lamb NZ.

Eventually called NZFAP Plus, it is actively being used by farmers and meat processors nationwide. Simon also spent some time has the Environment Strategy Manager at Beef and Lamb NZ circa 2018-2020, where he managed the coordination and implementation of the Environment Strategy. He has an independent role on the Land Use Capability Classification System governance group managed by Manaaki Whenua, who manages the NZLRI/LUC national dataset.

A key focus for him is the long-term future of New Zealand farm/rural businesses within catchment communities and building environmental management capability and capacity in farm planning.

Brian Leadley – Arable and lamb finishing farmer

My wife Rachel and I farm Bradley Fields, a flat irrigated property at Dromore, 15km north of Ashburton.

Harvesting 440 hectares of crops including milling wheat, seeds, and process vegetables during the summer months. In autumn our focus turns from cropping to lamb finishing, supplying ANZCO lambs for their winter and spring contracts.

With between 5000 - 5500 lambs finished each winter being a perfect fit in our farming rotation, it seemed a natural progression to join the NZ Farm Assurance Program. With our aim to supply quality stock to ANZCO we saw this as an opportunity to add value to our business while supporting their value-add market surety.