Taranaki farmer and former Ravensdown employee, Mike Davey has been elected to the co-op’s board.
Gower is a third-generation hill country sheep and beef farmer from Ohura near Taumarunui, who retired from the Ravensdown board last September after reaching the maximum term.
"The ag sector is served by more co-operatives than most. Participation by working farmers is vitally important especially in the board's composition and determining its priorities," he says.
"Co-op members can nominate candidates; they can run themselves and of course elect the directors that best represent how they think things should be governed."
Gower admits he was elected to the board earlier than was comfortable, as he was single-handed on his farm, but the experience gave an enormous boost to his career path.
"Being on the board really changed my career. I knew what I was doing on the farm, but exposure to business and networks opened up new ways of thinking for me. It taught me how to see farming business differently," he adds.
"The ideal candidate might already have farm-staff to keep things running while they're at board meetings every six weeks or so, reading board papers and emails, and talking with farmers."
Looking back on his 12 years on the Ravensdown board, Gower is proudest of helping engineer the co-op's shift to the concept of 'smarter farming'.
"Farming has been under social and environmental pressure for a number of years," he says.
"We got in a little ahead of the game in spotting that what we did for farmers was central to these pressure points. If we developed smarter products and services, we could help them farm more effectively."
Gower believes that getting an active farmer's perspective at board level on the company's products and services and its delivery is of huge value to the company.
"I would encourage active farmers to consider standing for a director's spot.
"It is a company of farmers for farmers. If it is to continue to be successful, they need to participate at a high level."
Nominations for directors on the Ravensdown board are open between July 17 and August 13.