Steering committee

The Hill Country Futures programme is governed by a steering committee of co-funders and hill country farmers, and led by an independent Chair.

Independent Chair

Jenni Vernon – Waikato sheep and beef farmer, Nuffield Scholar, AWDT trustee, and senior policy analyst

Co-funder representatives

Dr Derek Woodfield - General Manager Research & Development, PGG Wrightson Seeds

James White - Commercial Extension Manager, RAGT New Zealand (formerly Seed Force New Zealand)

Suzi Keeling - Sector Science Strategy Manager, Beef + Lamb New Zealand

Delia Tamsen - Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)

Federation of Maori Authorities (FoMA)

Rawson Wright - FoMA Innovation Team member, East Coast sheep and beef farmer, retired Northland dairy farmer, Taitokerau Forests Ltd - Chair, and Economic Analyst


Sam Lang - Quorum Sense Manager, farm systems researcher

Rita Batley - Moawhango (Taihape) sheep and beef farmer and community advocate  

Jacqui Cottrell - Taihape sheep and beef farmer, co-founder of Kiwi Quinoa