30 Nov 2012

Change at helm ahead for Landcorp

6:29 am on 30 November 2012

Landcorp is preparing for a change of leadership.

After 13 years, chief executive Chris Kelly is to leave about the middle of next year and Landcorp has started the search for his replacement.

Mr Kelly says his contract runs out in February but he has agreed to stay on at the country's largest farming operation until at least July, to see through two big projects.

Landcorp expects to take over management of the 16 Crafar farms early next month, on behalf of the Chinese buyer, Shanghai Pengxin, which is about to take ownership.

Landcorp is also handling the large scale conversion of forestry land to dairying at Wairakei in the central North Island.

Mr Kelly said the Crafar farm deal will see Landcorp employing an additional 76 staff by May of next year, and taking over managing another 16 farms and 16,000 cows.

Concurrently, it is restarting the Wairakei pastoral project which is developing another 2000 or 3000ha of forestry into dairying. That will mean another 4000 to 5000 cows and another 40-odd staff.

Mr Kelly describes the first half of next year as "busy".

Landcorp Farming owns or leases 119 farming properties, and has 1.5 million stock units.