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Team effort reaps rewards despite difficult trading year

Piper Amy J | 19 Nov, 2020 | 0 Comments | Return|

Working together and nimbly responding to the ever changing trading environment brought about by Covid-19 saw Ruralco achieve pleasing results for its 2020 financial year.

“Covid-19 was an unprecedented obstacle this year, but as a Ruralco family we managed to overcome it. Through the grit and dedication of our team and our farmers we continued to trade in a way that served our farmers’ needs, while also meeting our financial goals,” said new Ruralco Chair, Jessie Chan at the 57th Ruralco Annual General Meeting last night.

For the third time in a row Ruralco will pay its owners a bonus rebate thanks to revenue growth and careful management of expenses. The $250,000 bonus rebate comes on the back of a strong year for the rural services co-operative, (ATS Ltd Trading as Ruralco), which recorded operating earnings before interest and depreciation (EBITDA) of $1.2 million.

During the last financial year Ruralco has attracted 68 new shareholders and its market share has increased while also focusing on efficiencies within the business.

“Crisis does not change who you are - crisis reveals who you are.  Covid 19 revealed a lot about us this year. We are agile, innovative, and willing to rise to the challenge,” said Ms Chan.

It’s a sentiment shared by Group CEO, Rob Sharkie who said the cooperative’s differentiation is always its people – its staff, shareholders, suppliers, their families and the farming community.  “We have always taken great pride in our collaborative culture, our flexible working practices and our ability to act quickly to embed change.  The success of our rapid response to this year’s rapidly changing trading environment demonstrated to us that our team has resilience, determination and the culture to meet these challenges head-on.”

Retiring Chairman, Alister Body who stood down from his role on the Board earlier this year, was acknowledged and thanked for almost nine years of service, including three as Chair.  “We will miss his wealth of experience and the professionalism he brought to the Board and our cooperative, and wish him all the best for his future endeavours,” Mr Sharkie said.

Newly elected Director, farmer of 10,000 stock units and former MP and House of Parliament Speaker, David Carter was welcomed to the Board.  “Joining the Ruralco Board is a chance to offer my experience to my first passion—NZ agriculture.  Ruralco has a unique history.  I believe with good governance, good management, and a dedicated staff, it has the potential to deliver even greater benefits to its shareholders,” he said.

Looking forward, Ruralco recognises that while the agricultural sectors are currently well placed despite the uncertainty created in the wake of Covid-19, the need to work collaboratively will remain at the forefront of all it does.

“We are here to support the success of rural NZ by bringing you complete solutions to make farming life easier; in a way that makes it easy to do business; and in a way that provides value for money,” said Ms Chan.



David Carter

Current Governance Experience:

Successful farming business owner for 48 years.

Completed a successful parliamentary career on 17 October 2020 after 26 years.

Attended Institute of Directors Governance Course in November 2020.

Previous Governance Experience:

David has chaired numerous select committees as a Member of Parliament and became a Senior Cabinet Minister 2008 to 2012. He was involved in all major decisions of Government at that time.

Elected Speaker of the NZ Parliament at the start of 2013, until the end of 2017. Effectively the country’s major governance role.

On-Farm Background:

As a sole trading farming enterprise, David has purchased, developed, farmed and sold a number of farm properties over a 48-year farming career. He currently farms 10,000 stock unit sheep and beef breeding and fattening operations, spread over 3 properties: Manor Farm and Burnt Hollow on Banks Peninsula, and Cat Hill in North Canterbury.

After obtaining a B.Agr.Sc degree in 1974 David was founder and managing director of NZ Transplant Breeders Ltd, New Zealand’s first commercial cattle embryo transfer company, that achieved a turnover of $1 million in its second year of operation.

Off-Farm Background:

  • Speaker of NZ Parliament 2013 to 2017.
  • Minister of Agriculture, Biosecurity, Economic Development, Forestry, and Primary Industries 2008 to 2012.
  • Minister of Customs 1998 to 1999.
  • Associate Minister of Revenue and Education 1998 to 1999.
  • Member of the NZ National Party caucus 1994 to 2020.


Though city born and bred, David’s passion was always to be a farmer. Armed with a B.Agr.Sc from Lincoln, he started farming at West Melton in 1972. He established New Zealand’s first commercial embryo transplant company to help introduce the new “exotic” cattle breeds to Australia and New Zealand. His other passion was politics. David was elected to Parliament in 1994, and on the pathway to achieve his ambition—Minister of Agriculture. However, Parliament elected him to be Speaker, a privileged position that he held for five years.

About the Author


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