This year we are holding three workshop sessions on each day of conference.

DAY ONE: Wednesday 4th May 2016

Choose one workshop

W1: The Masterplan of My Life

Where to next for me? How can I better connect with those around me? What is my purpose in life? Highly regarded personal development coach, Loshni Manikam, will present an interactive session around achieving happiness and living a life that ‘ticks all the boxes’. You will be provided with a range of tools to encourage thinking around those big questions and be inspired to do what you often don’t consider important – thinking about yourselves.


  • Loshni Manikam

    Loshni ManikamLoshni trained as a lawyer and is now a certified coach specializing in leadership coaching in the agri-sector. She is a director of an award-winning share-milking business, an equity partner in a 600 cow farm in Southland and the founding director of Iceberg Coaching.

    Loshni has worked on the Dairy NZ “Farmer Wellness and Wellbeing” national programme, chaired the DWN National Conference Committee and is a graduate and coach of the AWDT’s Escalator programme.

    Her wealth of experiences as a dairy farming mum, an industry-collaborator and a Coach is backed with the research and training of the Agri-Women’s Development Trust. This puts her in a unique position to follow her passion of understanding and delivering what farming women need to confidently plan their successful lives.

W2: Uniting Your Multicultural Team

Uniting your multicultural team can be difficult so we have put together a workshop focusing on all aspects of employing migrant workers. NZ MasterChef 2015 finalist Leo Fernandez will provide an insight into life in the Philippines and his journey to becoming a pig farmer in NZ . Alex Thompson from Culverden will present some practical tools and tips for use in your own multicultural team. While our very own Justine Kidd will go through the complex road to residency.


  • Leo Fernandez

    Leo FernandezLeo was born at Binalonan in the Philippines. Leo attended the University of the Philippines, becoming a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 2005. He was a leadership awardee at University.

    After university Leo took the position as a farm veterinarian at a monkey breeding farm and facility. A couple of years later he moved positions to become the assistant college veterinarian at Tarlac College of Agriculture.

    Around seven years ago Leo immigrated to New Zealand and his first position in Culverden was as a dairy farm assistant. He then moved to and is now the unit/herd manager for Patoa Farms Limited, a pig farm at Hawarden.

    Leo is president of Hurunui Filipino Community Limited. Last but not least, Leo is a highly skilled chef and was a finalist in MasterChef New Zealand 2015.

  • Alex Thompson

    Alex ThompsonAlex, with her husband Kevin and three children, sharemilking 1,000 cows in the Culverden basin. Their farm business has six staff and has been running for five years. Alex emigrated from the UK to New Zealand about 10 years ago.

    Alex trained as a management accountant in the UK govermnent. She is an advocate for Primary ITO Diploma, treasurer of Amuri St John and currently inventory controller at Farmlands, Culverden.

  • Justine Kidd

    DWN Trust Board ChairJustine has been involved in many aspects of the dairy industry after graduating with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (hons) in 1993. From on-farm consultancy to farm production research to property development to governance and strategic consultancy Justine has established new businesses and grown existing businesses.

    These days Justine leads the BEL Group, a family owned dairy farming business located in the Central Hawkes Bay region. BEL Group farms 2,800ha in dairy and a further 1,400ha in dairy support. Alongside this Justine is a third shareholder of Dairy CHB milking 1,000 cows across a 600 cow 50:50 sharemilking operation and a 400 cow intensive production system farm.

    Under Justine’s leadership the BEL Group has grown 60% in business scale and had a 50% increase in balance sheet. Justine has led the transition of this business from an owner operator model to a fully managed corporate structure. BEL Group won the 2011 NZ Human Resources Initiative of the Year award.

    Justine was named the NZ Dairy Women of the Year in 2013 and was recognised as the 2015 Hawkes Bay Primary Sector Industry Leader. Justine currently Chairs Dairy Women’s Network.

W3: Cash Cows – Your FarmsAssets

Your herd is one of your biggest assets. LIC’s Jack Hooper and David Chin will look at ways to leverage that asset and get the most from
your herd, through production, reproduction and stock sales. You will hear practical examples of how farmers have improved their profitability while increasing and diversifying income. During the workshop you will gain tips and tricks on things you can do to make
your herd and stock more marketable.


  • Jack Hooper

    Jack HooperJack is a member of LIC’s NZ Markets team and acts as a Principal Advisor to the leadership team. Jack’s role sees him involved in a wide range of activities across the business, including advising on and managing the implementation of research related industry field trials such as the DairyNZ MBIE Fertility Trial.

    Jack is a Member of the Lincoln University Demonstration Farm Management Advisory Group and also consults with significant South Island based key accounts. He played a key role in the establishment of LIC’s Reproduction Solutions team and retains a role in their advisory group.

    Previous roles extending over 40 years have included NZ Dairy Board Consulting Officer; Livestock Selection Supervisor within LIC’s sire selection and progeny test programmes, LIC Farms Manager and Genetics Consultant.

  • David Chin

    David ChinDavid has been employed by Livestock Improvement for the last 9 yrs and currently manages the Central North Island Farm Solution Managers. David also runs the forecasting and market analytics team for the company.

    Previously David developed and ran the Key Accounts team at LIC for three years and he has also held positions as the Corporate Marketing Manager and the Herd Testing Product Manager.

    David was born in the Waikato and holds degrees in both Commerce and Arts from Otago University. David lives on a 50 acre farm in Whitehall (Cambridge) with wife (Alex) and 3 daughters.

DAY TWO: Thursday 5th May 2016

Choose one workshop

W4: Coaching For Success

How do you motivate others and also bring out the best in yourself? This practical based workshop presented by Lee Astridge of No8hr
will give you the confidence to lead your team and help them achieve their own goals. You will be given take home tools, the best coaches use that you will be able to put in place as soon as you return to your farm/business/community.


  • Lee Astridge

    Lee AstridgeLee Astridge is Principal Consultant of No.8HR, a specialist recruitment and human resources business operating in the New Zealand agribusiness sector.

    Lee is passionate and committed to helping business owners achieve better bottom line performance through effective ‘people’ strategies.

    She has over 25 years experience in strategic HR and people development roles, both in New Zealand and internationally.

    This includes work in both corporate and SME environments across a range of industries.

    Lee works at both a strategic and managerial level in businesses, focusing on HR and organisational development including:

    • Organisational culture, strategy and structure
    • Recruitment, career and succession planning
    • Management and Leadership capability analysis and development
    • People Performance optimisation including review processes and performance management programmes
    • Ensuring compliance with statutory employment requirements
    • Mediation and advocacy in employment disputes

    Lee is a professional member of the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand and holds tertiary management and HR qualifications.  She is a recognised qualified ‘People Specialist’ with the New Zealand Institute of Primary Industry Management and has built a reputation as motivational facilitator who enables participants to extend both their knowledge and experience boundaries in her workshops.

W5: Colostrum is Gold

MSD are excited to be bringing international calf expert Gemma Chuck to the DWN 2016 conference. This will be another exciting and popular hands on workshop looking  at all aspects of Colostrum management in your new born calves as well as getting an understanding of the biology of a new born calf. You will learn how to stomach tube a calf safely and effectively.


  • Gemma Chuck

    Gemma Chuck (1)Dr Gemma Chuck graduated with a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine degree from The Royal Veterinary College in London, UK, in June 2006. She worked briefly in the South West of England in a mixed practice clinic before moving to Australia in January 2007.

    She settled in Far North Queensland on the Atherton Tablelands with her husband Jason. Here she worked for Tableland Veterinary Service where she initially developed her skills in mixed practice and more latterly with an emphasis in dairy. In 2009, she was appointed Adjunct lecturer at James Cook University and was responsible for the practical teaching of dairy cattle medicine and surgery to final year veterinary undergraduates.

    In November 2010, Gemma moved to Victoria to undertake a three year Residency in Dairy Cattle Medicine and Production at The University of Melbourne based at The Vet Group in Timboon. Part of the Residency included a Masters in Veterinary Science research project, with the original project investigating how practical changes to colostrum management can affect morbidity, mortality and live weight gain on dairy farms in south west Victoria. In February 2013, Gemma converted her Masters into a PhD project. The project was expanded to determine the effect of early life events on lactation and reproductive performance in dairy heifers and is due for completion in February 2016. Gemma has maintained her consultancy work in calf and heifer health during her studies and enjoys working with dairy farmers to improve calf rearing practices. She hopes that the work achieved by her research will help the industry as a whole. Gemma is a Director on the Board of WestVic Dairy and has a monthly column in the Australian Dairy News.

    Aside from work, Gemma enjoys walking her dogs with her husband, horse riding, photography, cooking, gardening and rearing her own calves and heifers.

W6: Riding the Milk Price Roller Coaster

Mark Heer from the ASB and Craig Sanders from accountants Crowe Horwath have joined together to deliver this practical session on understanding of the milk price volatility and look at ways you can manage it within your own farming business. You will hear how farmers have managed to bring positives from the negatives and survived these difficult times. You will gain tools to then make informed
decisions around risk management within your own farming system.


  • Mark Heer

    Mark HeerMark has 30 years’ experience across Rural and Corporate Banking with his current role being General Manager Rural for ASB Bank.

    Mark Heer has had an extensive 30 year career in Rural and Corporate banking. He’s held Rural Manager positions from Otago through to Northland as well as leading ASB’s Rural Corporate division. In 2012 he was appointed into the role of ASB Rural’s General Manager leading an experienced team of over 200 people.

    Mark is a Massey University graduate, having studied Bachelor of Agricultural Science Degree. Since then he’s also completed the Excelerator Leadership Programme run by the NZ Leadership Institute and the EY Executive Programme through the Darden Business School.

    Mark is a member of the NZ Institute of Directors, and currently is an independent director of a Hamilton based SME in the manufacturing industry.

    In between days out of the office in the field with ASB’s many rural customers and his Rural team, Mark finds time to spend with his wife Maria and their 3 adult daughters either at their Auckland city apartment or their more relaxing Waiheke Island home.

  • Craig Sanders

    Craig Sanders

    Born and bred in Te Awamutu, Craig is a prominent community figure. He works with clients across a wide range of areas including: agribusiness, cloud accounting, budgeting, forecasting, business development and succession planning.

    After progressively working his way up the career ladder, Craig was promoted to the position of Principal in 2001. His primary interests are wide ranging from agribusiness and cloud accounting through to business and succession planning.

    Craig is committed to helping local businesses to reach their full potential. He works with clients to understand their business and personal aspirations, and develops strategies to ensure they become a reality. He is passionate about his clients using the best tool for the job and has been spoken at National Field Days on cloud accounting and its effectiveness in providing real time data for on farm decision making.

    Succession planning is another of Craig’s specialist areas, he understands first-hand the key issues around family succession and how to effectively manage the process of exiting a business. His personal, down-to-earth and practical approach to doing business lies behind the success of the strong advisory relationships that he has built with clients.

    Craig works with an experienced and knowledgeable team of professionals who assist him across the areas of business advisory and succession planning.

  • Hayden Dillon

    Hayden is the Managing Principal for Waikato. Hayden grew up on his family station in Central Otago, and has been involved in Agribusiness throughout his career. Hayden is still involved directly in farming with his Bloodstock farm in Ohaupo.

    Hayden’s key roles in corporate banking within the food and fibre sector of the National Australia Bank Group, as well as his involvement directly in the Australian milk processing industry, have seen him specialise in the Post Farm Gate Sector.

    Hayden provides strategic advice to corporate agribusiness clients at both a farm and post farm gate level. In addition, Hayden is specifically engaged to directly negotiate and lead transactions for mergers, acquisitions and funding applications on behalf of clients. Hayden also provides advice around interest and currency risk management.

    Clients and experience 

    Director – Dairy Solutions Ltd (an international agribusiness company involved in project management and the distribution of agribusiness based technology)

    Strategic review of a Hamilton based international agribusiness distribution company (negotiated and advised on an MBO)

    Strategic review and structural advice in a government education business (provided analysis and recommendations on improvements to the business)

    Capital raising and advisory services for a New Zealand based effluent business (provided advice and assisted in sourcing capital to allow the business to achieve significant growth)

    Lead role in the sale of a water products business to foreign investors (sought potential buyers and lead in negotiation of buy-in)

    Advisor on an international horticultural equipment manufacturers management buy-out (advised and negotiated on structures for MBO of a family owned business)

    Professional background 

    ■■ Corporate Banking

    ■■ Strategic Management

    ■■ Governance

    ■■ Post Farm Gate Corporate and Agribusiness Advisory 

Post Conference Workshops: Thursday 5th May 2016

Ticket cost includes Lunch and Afternoon Tea

P1: Growing Great Calves

This workshop runs from 1.00pm to 6.00pm

Growing great calves is an important part of your farming business.  MSD are excited to be offering a post conference workshop with international calf expert Gemma Chuck. This practical and hands on workshop looks at all aspects of calf rearing including the biology of calf diseases and the development of immunity, treatment of sick calves, vaccination strategy and calf housing.

This is a great follow on workshop to the Colostrum is Gold workshop.

Gemma Chuck – MSD

P2: Farming in the Cloud

This workshop runs from 1.00pm to 3.00pm

Forward thinking financial management is critical in these volatile times. Figured, Xero, ASB and Crowe Horwath have come together to show how using online tools can help you manage your business more efficiently.  Through this interactive, hands on workshop you will be shown how these tools in the cloud can be brought together to add value and give clarity to your business performance that both you and your team can access.  

Craig Sanders, Sarah & Lauren – Crowe Horwath
Gideon Clewlow, Trevor Hurley & Mark Heer – ASB
Sophie Stanley – Xero/Figured