Livestock Improvement Corporation’s long-standing Board Director Gray Baldwin has retired from his role, after 10 years serving the co-op.

Gray Baldwin
Gray Baldwin

Elected to LIC’s Board in 2012, the third-generation farmer and his wife Marilyn milk 850 cows on their property near Lichfield in South Waikato.

Gray says it has been a pleasure to be part of the co-op and serve his fellow farmers during such a transformative time.

“LIC is a fantastic co-operative with a great heart and future, and a butt-kicking balance sheet. The co-op I’m leaving is a more efficient and lean machine than when I started 10 years ago, and it’s one of the strongest companies I govern.”

Gray heralds the recent journey of LIC’s automation business as the project he’s most proud to have been involved in.

“The Board made a concerted effort to grow the automation business and make it profitable. Even though it wasn’t all smooth sailing, it was incredibly insightful.

“The proposal to buy a stake in (Israeli agritech company) Afimilk got us on the map with automation which ultimately led to the successful sale of LIC’s automation business. That sale is the key reason we’ve got a strong balance sheet with no debt.”

Gray says he’s had a great run on the Board and looks forward to watching the co-op continue to grow and develop.

“Most people would describe LIC as a genetics business, but I think a data company is a more accurate description. There are huge opportunities for LIC in the data space and I think it’ll become hugely successful in that area.

“I would like to say a big thank you to all the shareholders that have supported me over the years, particularly those who I represented during my time as Director.”

At the co-op’s Annual Meeting in Palmerston North, LIC Board Chair Murray King thanked Gray on behalf of the co-op for his outstanding contribution.

“Gray has been an outstanding director, always representing what’s good for our farmers and supporting what’s best for the co-operative. We have been very fortunate to have his expertise on the board for the past ten years.

“Gray is a highly experienced commercial director whose skill for calling a spade a spade always adds to the quality of our discussions around the board table and our decision making. In particular Gray’s clarity and strategic thinking means he has made a big contribution as a member of the audit and risk committee. His positivity, energy and sense of humour will be missed and we wish Gray all the best.”

Corrigan Sowman
Corrigan Sowman

At the Annual Meeting, South Island shareholders elected Corrigan Sowman as their new Board Director, resulting in even representation of farmer-elected Board Directors between the two islands (three North Island; three South Island) as voted for by shareholders in 2020.

Corrigan Sowman is the owner, director and business manager of Uruwhenua Farms, a 400ha family owned dairy farm in Golden Bay and is a member of the Fonterra Sustainability Advisory Panel, a group providing independent advice to the Fonterra Senior Management Team and Board.

“It’s a privilege to be elected to the Board of LIC at such an important and exciting time for our sector. Dairy farmers are enjoying record milk prices and have a truly exciting opportunity to provide grass fed nutrition that the world wants. But it comes with new responsibilities and challenges, and I look forward to contributing to LIC as it supports farmers with science, innovation and services that meet these head on.”

Murray King welcomed Corrigan to the Board, noting the important role the Board plays in setting the strategy and long-term goals of the co-op.

“Corrigan has great experience in the industry and his perspective and expertise will challenge and strengthen our Board, as we continue to focus on delivering our three commitments to farmer shareholders - operational excellence, faster genetic improvement and software reliability and performance.”