Thurston takes out Top Silver Fern Farms Livestock Rep for 2021

By Silver Fern Farms

Thurston takes out Top Silver Fern Farms Livestock Rep for 2021

"Posted" 24/12/2021

Richard Thurston has taken out the top prize for Silver Fern Farms’ Livestock Rep of the Year for 2021. GM Supply Chain Dan Boulton said that the Tararua rep had declared that winning the award was a goal since joining the company in 2012, and ever since he has been putting in the effort to earn it.

Thurston was singled out for his exceptionally positive mindset and helping his clients to navigate the challenges of 2021, including ever-increasing compliance and regulation as well as the associated market opportunities.

Presenting the award, Boulton said that Thurston “shows true passion for his job and Silver Fern Farms. He understands and embodies our strategy and this shines through in his interactions with our suppliers”.

“Richard embraces change and gets involved in delivering new company initiatives which has become key in an environment of increasing market opportunity for highly attributed New Zealand red meat,” Boulton says.

Thurston himself was thrilled to win the award he had been chasing for 9 years, but remained humble in victory. “The rep is only one link in the chain. There’s a lot of unsung heroes behind the scenes too. When I look around me I see a successful team who all have an equal part to play”. 

On the critical nature of the Livestock Rep role, Boulton said “as market requirements evolve, as consumer demands change, and as our social license to operate shifts we are asking our farmers to shift with us.

“Critical to the Livestock Rep’s role is communicating this change, and making sure that our suppliers and their farming systems are evolving to meet future consumer demands. With this work ahead of us the role of our Livestock Reps will only become more important,” says Boulton.

Thurston had good advice for those chasing the top prize. “When I started in the role I was new to the area and spent a lot of time getting to know the community and building trust. I’ve done everything – cooking barbeques, judging pet shows, playing rugby with the locals.

“It’s important that that the community trusts you because the farmer is relying on you for their income and information. They want to know you’ve got their back, and have their best interests at heart, so you can be a successful team together,” he says.

The runner-up was South Island Rep of the Year, Peter Nelson of South Otago.