Farmers elect new president

19:51, May 09 2012

Federated Farmers members mustered in Invercargill yesterday to vote for a new Southland leader in a one-horse presidency race.

Former Federated Farmers Southland dairy chairman Russell MacPherson became the new president at the annual meeting yesterday. He was the only candidate after Hugh Gardyne announced he would finish his tenure as president yesterday morning.

Mr Gardyne was looking forward to life after the presidency, which could sometimes be a thankless job, he said.

"Tomorrow, I'll reclaim that part of my life back for new endeavours."

Mr Gardyne's speech to Federated Farmer members at the Invercargill Workingmen's Club issued a warning to the new executive.

"Environment Southland, and all local bodies, work best with full engagement with their communities, and Feds are an integral part of every rural community. That executive members chose to remove themselves from recent Environment Southland meetings, set for the development of wording and structure of the interim policy on wintering and nutrient management, does not currently bode well for Federated Farmers."

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Last month Mr Gardyne told an Environment Southland meeting he was in favour of a dairy conversion rule, which prompted federation members to walk out of the council meeting and consequently got Mr Gardyne censured by the executive.

Newly elected president Mr MacPherson said the urban community needed reminding what farming did for the Southland community.

He wanted people to visit the A blade of grass in strength sculpture outside the Invercargill City Council building, in Esk St, to reflect on the wealth and strength farming brings to Southland.

The Southland Times