New dairy leader brings a wealth of experience to Taranaki
18 September 2019
Mark’s career has included running Fonterra’s demonstration and training farm
in Pannala, Sri Lanka. He’s seen here donating a cow from Fonterra to a local farmer.
DairyNZ’s new Taranaki regional leader, Mark Laurence, is looking forward to working with the region’s farmers to help them continue to adapt to a fast-changing environment.
Mr Laurence has 20 years’ experience in the dairy sector and has worked both in New Zealand and internationally in hands on, advisory and training and development roles.
Through his new role, Mr Laurence said he will be providing leadership to a team of four consulting officers who work with dairy farmers in Taranaki.
“A big part of our focus is getting to know our farmers and ensuring as a team we help build and improve their farm business,” he said.
“Initially I’ll be focused on getting to know the team and then adding value to farmers. I’m looking forward to getting out to meet farmers in the region and helping them respond to various challenges and opportunities. It’s a pretty cool job.”
One of the ways Mr Laurence and his team support farmers is by providing advice on new technology, best practice and good business management.
Mr Laurence’s advice is grounded in practical on farm experience. He started work in the dairy sector in 1999 when he worked part-time for Massey University farms while studying.
“I love the dairy sector. Working for Massey introduced me to so many different aspects, from getting up at 4am and milking cows, to the research, and the broader industry interactions, so that’s why I thought, ‘this is pretty brilliant’.
“And of course, you get to deal with good people. I would quite happily spend all day talking to farmers.”
Mr Laurence has gone on to enjoy a wide and varied career, most recently as an area manager for Fonterra. Previously, he’s been a consulting officer in Northland (for DairyNZ’s predecessor, Dexcel) and managed a large dairy operation in Manawatu.
One of his more interesting roles saw him running a training and development farm in Sri Lanka for Fonterra, an experience that put New Zealand’s dairy sector into perspective for him.
“New Zealand is in an enviable position. What we’ve got compared to other countries is massive – we have advantages that have been developed through hard work and ingenuity,” he said.
The move to Taranaki from Palmerston North is also a chance to spend time with his family as Mr Laurence’s parents live in Waitara.
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