LIC | Candidate Profiles LIC Director Election 2017

Candidate Profiles LIC Director Election 2017

Matt Ross Murray King Morgan Easton Andrew Barlass


Matt Ross

A bit about me:

I’m 41, married to Julie and we have three children. We farm a 580ha property, milking 1800 cows in the Waitaki Valley inland from Oamaru.

I have farmed in North Otago since graduating from Massey University (BApplSc Ag) in 1998. 

In 2007, Julie and I were awarded the NZ Sharemilker of the Year title – a highlight of our dairying career. 

Together we have focused on, and prioritise, building long term relationships and I have experience in a variety of ownership and operating structures as a function of that.

Relevant experience:

Since 2006 I’ve held roles in project management (farm development and industry infrastructure builds), on-farm advisory and advisory Board capacities throughout the South Island. 

I’ve also held a number of governance roles and pursued further learning opportunities.

These include:

  • Maerewhenua District Water Resource Co. (2006 – 2011 Director, Chair 2008-11) 
  • Kurow Duntroon Irrigation Co. (2009 – 16) – Director
  • Waitaki Irrigators Collective (2010-14) – Director
  • Waitaki Independent Irrigators Inc. (2011-14) – Chair
  • Lower Waitaki South Coastal Canterbury Zone Committee (appointed position, 2011-15)
  • Board member, Irrigation New Zealand. (2008 -11)
  • Dairy Environmental Leaders Forum member (2008 – pres.)
  • Graduate of the Fonterra Governance Development Programme (2014)

I have an enquiring mind, am financially literate and results focused. Skills I believe essential to making a contribution in governance.

LIC and me:

My association with LIC began as an AB technician in 1995, to the present day as a Co –operative shareholder, Investment shareholder and exclusive user of LIC products and services. Our high quality herd is testament to a 20 year commitment to breeding services from LIC. We embrace technology, use a variety of farm automation, and are early adopters of new products and services.

I believe LIC’s challenge is to maintain a profitable business that remains in front of shareholder needs and expectations. Leading edge, progressive products and services that are cost effective and simple to implement are essential – for both the business and its farmers. 

As a passionate dairy farmer, with a genuine interest in the industry doing well, I’d love to be part of LIC’s future direction. LIC has made a significant contribution to the history and progress of our dairying and with my proven track record in farming, and in Governance, I believe I could make a meaningful and constructive contribution to the LIC Board.

I’d welcome your support.

M: 0274 312 746



Murray King

I am 53 years old and live at Appleby with wife Sarah and three teenage children. We farm several dairy and support properties in Nelson and North Canterbury on our own account. We also have business interests in other dairy farming, agritech and fast-moving consumer goods companies in NZ and internationally.

Professional qualifications

  • Chartered Member – Institute of Directors
  • Te Hono – Stanford Bootcamp 2016
  • Nuffield Scholar 2002

Governance and Industry Experience

  • LIC director since 2009 – past 6 years as Chairman
  • Director of a number of farming, water and technology companies, many as chairman
  • Former LIC Shareholder Councillor and individual farmer submitter to DIRA

Current Directorships

  • Milktech Ltd
  • Waimea Community Dam Ltd
  • Waimea Irrigators Ltd
  • Long Plain Investments Ltd
  • Callura Dairies Management Ltd
  • Dry Stream Irrigation Ltd
  • NZ Dairy Dessert Company
  • Kingsway Farms Ltd

Former Directorships / Membership

  • Canterbury Grasslands Ltd
  • Scott Milktech Ltd
  • SIDDC – South Island Dairy Development Centre
  • SIDE – South Island Dairy Event

I have over 15 years experience in governing agribusiness companies with many more in management.

LIC is a complex business. The role of Director should never be taken lightly. The company has been successful through strong governance and strategic insight but we live in a dynamic and rapidly changing disruptive world. The past few seasons have been challenging for our shareholders and LIC has not been immune. 

Significant change has occurred as we transform your cooperative into a robust yet dynamic company well positioned to operate in a changing environment. This has been new territory for a conservative coop founded on tradition.

I am deeply committed to the cooperative and its performance. The board and Management have worked hard to protect and strengthen the core genetics cooperative while at the same time positioning the agritech components in a manner which will enable it to grow for the benefit of all. 

LIC plays a unique role as a key enabler to the NZ dairy industry. It has significant opportunity to grow NZ including through robust science and collaboration.

Dairying is facing significant challenges that it has never encountered before. LIC has a role in validating and improving dairy’s environmental, social and economic impact through improved genetics and information.

It has been an honour to chair the LIC board and I seek your support to ensure that the work we have started continues:

B.Com.Ag  Dip Hort - Lincoln
P: 03 544 8465
M: 021 684 901
Twitter: @muzz_kingsway


Morgan Easton

As a customer, shareholder and investor in the Co-operative, I wish to ensure LIC operates at the highest level for all those with a similar interest.


  • Zanda McDonald Award 2017
  • Future Partners Programme, US/NZ Pacific Partnership Forum, Washington DC, USA
  • Fonterra Governance Development Programme
  • Master of Science – Finance and Agribusiness Management, Purdue University, USA: Fulbright Scholarship
  • Bachelor of Agricultural Science - Lincoln University / Cornell University: NZ Dairy Industry Undergraduate Scholarship

My wife Hayley and I have been on a growth path for eight years, increasing herd size from 450-1650 cows, giving us operational scale and efficiencies and developing our financial planning abilities.  As runners up, 2013 NZ Dairy Industry Awards, we won the LIC Recording and Productivity Award – recognising the part our cows’ performance plays in the profitability of our operation. 100% LIC semen has optimized the BW of our herd. We are large users of most LIC products and services; herd testing, AB, MINDA, Protrack and were early adopters of full herd/progeny DNA testing. 

I see technology playing an ever-increasing role on NZ dairy farms and wish LIC to be the leader, both in innovation and market share, for future developments in this area but not at the expense of the underlying role LIC plays with its breeding programmes to provide top dairy genetics at affordable prices for all dairy farmers, the core to LIC’s business.

I have a skill set which could bring a different generational perspective and view to the boardroom of LIC. What I perhaps lack in experience, I would make up for with enthusiasm – to look at and interpret current situations, investigate opportunities and develop strategies for the Co-operative that can indeed be implemented going forward.

It’s going to be crucial that if there is a change of capital structure, the separation of the genetics/farm management cooperative continues its fundamental role of improving the prosperity and productivity for farmers. Whilst for the agri-technology firm it will be imperative that this strives to be a dynamic and quick moving leader of new technology for farmers. I have a vested interest to maintain and develop LIC as a great company, and all of you do too.

Director of:

  • Twin Terraces Limited
  • Stoneyhurst Farm Limited 
  • Cayuga Limited

If you have any questions I encourage you to contact me:

M: 021 183 6997



Andrew Barlass

Genetics and technology are vital to delivering farm productivity and profitability improvements, particularly in an increasingly constrained operating environment. LIC is central to achieving these industry outcomes, however it does face challenges, including the dual share structure, disappointing financial performance, business separation and funding for growth. The cooperative is taking the steps required to address these issues but solving them is complex. Through a period of change, it is imperative that your appointed directors possess the capabilities for the task and have a strong stewardship focus. 

I am from a Mid-Canterbury farming family operating two milking platforms, supporting 1,400 cows, young stock and supplementary feed requirements. I hold a BCom Honours (First Class) degree from Canterbury University and I have over 15 years’ experience in financial markets across NZ, Australia and the UK, most recently as Head of Asset Management for the Australian direct infrastructure investment division of Deutsche Bank. 

During this time I have remained actively involved in the management and financing of the farming business and I return to Methven in May, with my young family, to enter this operation full time. 

I bring broad governance experience in large corporates:

  • Director, Allgas Energy, owner of gas pipeline network in Queensland
  • Director, Ports Pty Ltd, owner Port of Geelong
  • Alternate Director/Member Finance and Projects Board sub-committee, Australia Pacific Airports Corporation, owner Melbourne Airport

and professional governance training:

  • Company Directors Course (Order of Merit), and Mastering the Boardroom, Australian Institute of Company Directors
  • Current participant in the Fonterra Governance Development Program.

I have a high degree of financially literacy and a track record of identifying and executing organisational change to deliver strategic value. I have sound knowledge of the responsibilities/obligations of an NZX listed organisation and an in-depth understanding of development of the Fonterra’s TAF/FSF. I also have a keen interest in agricultural technology development

If elected director, my priority is to deliver a sustainable business model and an organisational structure that maintains cooperative farmer ownership and control of critical businesses, whilst enabling growth and development. 

The opportunity to be part of LIC during this period of change excites me and I believe my governance experience, strong corporate and strategic capabilities and an ability to work effectively with diverse stakeholders are all relevant to solving the current challenges, strengthening the cooperative and ultimately delivering on-farm value for shareholders.

Thank you for your support and please approach me with any questions:

M: +61409718375



Voting papers are posted out 21 April

Voting closes 22 May and results announced 26 May

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