Phil McKenzie in a large QEII National Trust open space wetland covenant, near Mossburn in Southland. Photo credit Guy Salmon

Improving the deer industry

by Ann van Engelen

Deer Industry NZ has beefed-up its farmer services with the appointment of Phil McKenzie as manager farm performance, a new position that was created following the appointment in late 2019 of former Passion2Profit manager Innes Moffat as chief executive.

“Phil is now managing the on-farm components of the industry’s Primary Growth Partnership programme, P2P, as well as the development of DINZ’s farm-facing services. In these roles he works closely with DINZ producer manager Tony Pearse and environmental stewardship manager Lindsay Fung,” says DINZ chief executive Innes Moffat.

“We are increasingly focussing the on-farm side of the P2P programme on helping our farmers improve water quality and biodiversity, and to meet climate change obligations. Meeting market and social expectations for animal and environmental management will enhance the value of the industry. Deer farmers have long been leaders in good environmental practice. The challenge is to fit that good practice into a framework that complies with district plans and new and proposed legislation.”

Originally from a farm in Southland, Mr McKenzie has worked in many regions throughout New Zealand, and overseas. He has deep farm systems knowledge and extensive agribusiness experience, including valuable experience with Pamu, where, in his most senior role, he was a general manager with responsibility for the environment. For the past 12 months, he has worked part-time for DINZ as the P2P environment project manager.

“With others in the DINZ team, I have been helping groups of farmers complete their Farm Environment Plans. This work will continue. Our formula of bringing together groups of deer farmers, where they can learn from each other, with the support of skilled consultants, is working well,” he says.

“I have been impressed by the spirit of innovation among deer farmers, their ambition to excel and their willingness to collaborate. There is, of course, much still to be done, which is what excites me about this new role — working with others to design practical on-farm solutions that work.”