While the deer industry faces several challenges in the short term, there will be a strong rebound in New Zealand venison sales once global demand recovers.
McKenzie is now managing the on-farm components of the DINZ’s Primary Growth Partnership programme, Passion2Profit (P2P), as well as the development of the industry’s farm-facing services. In these roles, he works closely with DINZ producer manager Tony Pearse and environmental stewardship manager Lindsay Fung.
The position – a newly created one – was established following the appointment in late 2019 of Innes Moffat – the former P2P manager – as chief executive.
Overall, DINZ says its staff numbers remain unchanged.
“We are increasingly focusing 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,” Moffat says.
“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.”
Over the past 12 months, McKenzie has already been working part-time for DINZ as the P2P environment project manager.
“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.
Originally from a farm in Southland, McKenzie has worked in many regions throughout New Zealand and overseas. He has deep farm systems knowledge and extensive agribusiness experience, including experience with Pamu, where in his most senior role he was a general manager with responsibility for environment.
“I’ve 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.”