Colin Hurst elected as Federated Farmers Arable Chairperson

Photo:  The new chairperson of the Federated Farmers Arable Industry Group, Colin Hurst (left), pictured when Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor presented him with the 2019 'Arable Farmer of the Year' Award.23 June 2020

23 June, 2020

The new Chairperson of the Federated Farmers Arable Industry Group, Colin Hurst, brings wide experience and an acknowledged reputation for hard work, tenacity and leadership to the role.

Colin, the 2019 ‘Arable Farmer of the Year’, was elected at the group’s AGM on Monday [June 22] for a three-year term.  He replaces Karen Williams, who is Vice-President elect of Federated Farmers of New Zealand.

As well as following his interest in science and innovation driving improved production and a lighter environmental footprint, Colin is also keen to lift the profile of the arable sector among consumers and fellow farmers.   Sales of arable production and spending generated by the industry contributed $863 million to GDP in 2018.

“Most people know we produce cereal grains used in bread and a host of other staples, and all the malting barley needed by our brewers, but we also grow the pasture seeds essential to our livestock farmers, not to mention brassicas and other feed crops, and seed production for domestic and international markets,” Colin says.

The arable industry’s export receipts were forecast to hit $260 million in the financial year just ended, a 10.2% increase.

Colin has farmed at Makikihi, South Canterbury since the mid-eighties with his family.  It’s a 700ha mixed arable farm, including 250ha of irrigation, growing mostly autumn wheat, grass seed, plantain seed, radish seed, forestry, with heifer grazing, dairy wintering and beef cattle finishing.

As well as serving Federated Farmers at national, regional and branch level, Colin has put in countless hours for the South Canterbury Rural Support Trust, the Arable Industry Group’s Herbage Seedgrowers Subsection, United Wheatgrowers and the Foundation for Arable Research.

He has been a staunch advocate for farmers around the Seed Quality Management Authority table, on the Fertiliser Quality Council, driving the development of a physical standard for fertiliser, and at a multitude of local authority planning and hearing processes.


  • Vice-Chairpersons elected to the Arable board for 2020/21 are: Grains, Brian Leadley; Seeds, David Birkett; Maize, Dion Fleming; Forage, Chris Dillon. The board will also include the Chairperson for the Foundation for Arable Research, Hugh Ritchie.