Environmental, Sheep & Beef, Agribusiness Consultant, Director

Erica has extensive experience working at the interface of environmental management and farm systems at farm level, industry level, and increasingly, how this connects to market. She also has specialist skills in extension. Past roles include the inaugural environment extension manager for Beef + Lamb New Zealand having previously held the position as the Mid Northern North Island extension manager. Erica worked as a policy analyst for the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry after completing her degree where she worked in the Natural Resource Group, then in the sector performance team.

Qualifications

  • Advanced Certificate in Sustainable Nutrient Management in New Zealand Agriculture, Massey University 2014
  • Kellogg Rural Leaders Programme, Lincoln University 2012
  • Masters in Agricultural Science (hons) with a thesis on Merino wool production in the South Island High Country – Massey University 2008
  • Bachelor of Science majoring in Agricultural Science with a focus on sustainable agriculture – Massey University 2006

 Employment History

AgFirst Manawatu-Whanganui
Environmental and Agricultural Consultant, Managing Director
October 2015 – present

AgFirst Manawatu-Whanganui was established in 2015, expanding AgFirst’s business into Feilding. Erica provides analysis and advice for a range of clients. She works with farmer clients, looking at the overall business performance and support in achieving long-term goals, incorporating the needs of the land, the family, staff, and other stakeholders. Taking a strategic and tailored approach to this means clients are receiving a bespoke service that meets their needs. The business has a specific focus on environmental sustainability for farmers.

With FarmIQ, Erica has developed the online environment planning tool, Landbase which is available through AgFirst. It allows farmers to complete farm plans online with full mapping capability and the business specialises in on-farm environment planning and how this can be used to create greater value for farmers. Erica also provides economic and environmental analysis regarding agriculture to central and local government and industry and has specialist capability in developing and delivering extension programmes to farmers.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand
Extension Manager, Mid Northern North Island: Hamilton (October 2011 – February 2014)
Environment Extension Manager, New Zealand: Manawatu (March 2014 – October 2015)

The more recent position was to act as the key representative for on-farm extension tools and services, and information transfer activities to our levy-paying farmers with regards to the environment. Erica’s focus was to build and foster strong relationships with Beef + Lamb New Zealand stakeholders and contribute to the ongoing development of farming best practice processes. Many of the programmes were community driven which involved managing multiple personalities and providing value at a community level via the community groups. Erica’s role involved designing and managing environmental programmes across the country, developing new resources to support farmer’s decision-making processes and building capability within the sheep and beef sector with farmers and delivery specialists.

Prior to this, Erica was the Extension Manager for the Mid Northern North Island. This was a more general role providing extension services to the roughly 2,000 commercial sheep and beef farmers in the Region. It involved managing around 15 programmes with their associated communities to deliver over 60 events per year to help farmers grow their businesses covering topics such as business management, pasture production, animal production, animal health, governance, environment, soil management and more.

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF)
Policy Analyst
Wellington (June 2008 – April 2011)
Hamilton (April 2011 – October 2011)

Erica was responsible for the Northland Sheep and Beef and Northland Dairy Farm Monitoring Models in 2011. She was involved in refreshing the animal welfare strategy for shade and shelter and was also involved in two Primary Growth Partnership projects. One of her key roles in the Ministry was working on the technical detail of bringing agriculture into the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme. This involved research, evidence-based analysis, communication and working closely with primary sectors and stakeholders from across the industry. She also led the MAF work on the new rental system for Crown Pastoral Lease (South Island High Country) which was enacted through legislation in 2012.

Erica developed a sound understanding of systems from a farm level, right through to the Minister’s office. Her understanding of environmental issues and the policy responses in the agricultural sector is also excellent. The roles have strengthened her ability to work with a vast array of different people – lawyers, politicians, farmers, advocates, industry representatives and other Government agencies.

Strengths

  • Strategic thinker with capabilities to explore and analyse farm systems including production, performance, people, and environment, and connect with new technology and the market place.
  • Strong networker with great relationships across New Zealand’s primary industries.
  • Experience with performance monitoring on-farm using tools such as Farmax, cost-benefit analysis, industry data such as B+LNZ Economic Service data, Farm Monitoring (previously MAF, now AgFirst) and applying these tools within farm systems
  • Excellent grasp of principles and practices in the land-based sectors in New Zealand
  • Strong knowledge of the relationship between primary production and the environment including practical mitigation strategies for farmers to reduce their impact, as well as a sound understanding of farmer behaviour towards this subject
  • Expert in farm environment plan development in a range of farm systems and environments across New Zealand, particularly sheep, beef and deer farms.
  • Ability to analyse risks, apply knowledge and solve problems effectively
  • Experienced facilitator having facilitated workshops and field days across New Zealand with sheep, beef, deer and dairy farmers
  • Three years’ experience as a policy analyst for the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, with a strong grasp on the legislative process and for presenting information to different end-users
  • Specialist in developing and delivering extension programmes

 Awards and Scholarships

  • 2017 Massey Agriculture Alumni Achievement Award
  • 2016 Runner Up, Zanda McDonald Award
  • 2014 New Zealand winner of the Woolworths’ Agribusiness Scholarship
  • Profiled as “Top Ten Up and Comer” in the agricultural sector by ‘Primary’ magazine 2013
  • AGMARDT Leadership Award to attend Kellogg Rural Leaders Programme 2012
  • Mid-Northern District winner, Royal Agricultural Society, Rural Young Achiever Award 2011

Other Information

Erica serves on a number of committees and working groups for various industry projects, largely related to environmental management on-farm. She’s a trustee of Te Araroa for the Waikato, and of 3F (Food, Farms and Freshwater). She is a director in her husband’s sheep and beef farming business where she brings strategic expertise and runs the farm’s two Farmax budgets. Erica has been involved with NZ Young Farmers for nearly a decade, having held a number of roles at club level, district level and regional level. As chairman of the Wellington Club she initiated the highly successful and ongoing industry cocktail function. Upon arriving in the Waikato, she co-founded the Hamilton City Club for rural professionals in the area. Erica is a two-time Regional Finalist in the Young Farmer of the Year Contest, finishing 2nd and 4th and continues to be involved with the Young Farmer of the Year Contest in a range of roles.

 Publications and Reports

Phil Journeaux, Erica van Reenen, Tafi Manjala, Sam Pike, David Miller and Graeme Austin (2018). Literature Review and Analysis of Farmer decision making with regard to Climate Change and Biological Gas Emissions. Report prepared for the Biological Emissions Reference Group. Read here.

Phil Journeaux & Erica van Reenen (2017). Economic evaluation of stock water reticulation on hill country. Report published by Ministry for Primary Industries. [http://www.mpi.govt.nz/growing-and-harvesting/land-care-and-farm-management/stock-water-reticulation/]

Phil Journeaux, Erica van Reenen, Tafi Manjala, Sam Pike, Ian Hanmore & Sally Millar (2017). Analysis of drivers and barriers to land use change. Report published by Ministry for Primary Industries. [http://www.mpi.govt.nz/news-and-resources/science-and-research/land-use-change-report/]

John Paterson, Adrian Brocksopp, Erica van Reenen (2014). A joint industry approach to monitor and report on farm progress towards catchment environmental targets. In: Nutrient management for the farm, catchment and community. (Eds L.D Currie and C.L. Christensen). http://flrc.massey.ac/nz/publications.html. Occasional Report No. 27. Fertiliser and Lime Research Centre, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand. 11 pages.

E.H van Reenen, P.C Beukes et al, M.R. Scarsbrook, R. Abercrombie, M.D. Barton (2013): Contract Session: Farming within Limits. Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production. (organiser and chairman of contract session).

Erica van Reenen (2013). Increasing the uptake of environmental practices on sheep and beef farms. Kellogg Rural Leaders Programme Report.

E.H. van Reenen & A.H. Pickering (2011): The role of legislation in improving farm sustainability and how the New Zealand Government intends to incentivise the agricultural industry. Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production. Vol. 71.

Guest speaker, International Symposium on Agriculture and Emissions Trading, February 2011, Tokyo, Japan.

E.H. van Reenen (2010): Agriculture in the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme. Poster presentation Greenhouse Gases in Animal Agriculture Conference, Banff, Canada, October 2010.

Guest lecturer Massey University Agricultural Systems class on the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme, 2010.

E.H. van Reenen, P. R. Kenyon, R. G. Sherlock, R. E. Hickson, S. T. Morris (2010): Shearing Merino ewes at different stages of pregnancy: effects on fleece characteristics of progeny. Animal Production Science, 50:6; 603 – 607.

E.H. van Reenen. (2008). Shearing merino ewes at different stages of pregnancy; some consequences for the progeny. Thesis in partial fulfilment of a Master of Science in Agricultural Science.

E.H. van Reenen, P. R. Kenyon, R. G. Sherlock, R. E. Hickson, S. T. Morris (2008): Brief communication: Live weight and body condition of single- and twin- bearing Merino ewes. Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production. 6; 67-68.