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Growing Future Farmers recruits new GM to support future growth

Growing Future Farmers is recruiting a new general manager to support its growth, with the number of students joining the programme skyrocketing by more than 700% in two years.

GFF’s current general manager Cyn Smith has been instrumental in the programme’s success, supported by a team of 10 regional liaison managers and the GFF Board of Trustees.

The original GFF pilot programme started in 2020 in the Wairarapa and Gisborne involving just 10 students and 10 sheep, beef and deer farms. This year, more than 60 first year students started with the programme. For 2023, 80 students are expected to take up placements on 80 farms in 12 regions across the country.

Cyn took up the role of General Manager in 2020 on a part-time basis while the programme was in its infancy.

As GFF continues to thrive, she says there is an opportunity for a full-time general manager to lead the programme and its team into the next phase of growth.

“Right now, our primary industries are crying out for staff and there are limited pathways for succession, which presents a real risk to the industry. Growing Future Farmers can help fill the gap, while providing school leavers with a viable career option.

“Our goal has always been to raise the industry standard of fit for work, educated and reliable farm students. I’m proud of what we have achieved over the last two years, and I am confident we have laid a solid foundation for the future growth of the programme.”

Cyn acknowledges the dedication and support of GFF’s farm trainers and their families, who are crucial to the success of the programme.

“Taking on a student is a big commitment, and we are hugely grateful to all our farmer trainers who support, encourage and care for our students.

“It has been a privilege getting to know many of them personally. They have told me how rewarding it is to have young people start with little to no farming skills and then see them progress, develop and grow as people to become valuable contributors to the team and the business. Everybody wins.”

The recruitment process for the new general manager is already underway. Cyn will assist with the transition before she departs at the end of November.

GFF chair John Jackson says there is an opportunity to continue to grow and refine the programme for young students who are keen to train at an entry level in the sheep, beef and deer industries.

“These keen young future farmers have a crucial role to play in supporting our primary sector to thrive.”

“We’re targeting an intake of around 100 students into the programme in the 2024 year. So, we are looking for a GM who has credibility within the farming sector to help us achieve our goal.”