Proposal to lift the age limit of NZ Young Farmers members to 33

Posted by on 7 May 2018 | Comments

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A proposal to lift the maximum age limit of NZ Young Farmers members will be put to the vote at July’s national AGM.

Members are being asked to consider whether the age limit should be raised from 31 to 33.

The move would require a ‘yes’ vote of 75 per cent and a change to the NZ Young Farmers Constitution.

“This is the most significant constitutional change I’ve seen proposed for our organisation in some time,” said NZ Young Farmers Board chairman Jason Te Brake.

“Every member will have an opinion. It’s important people express their views and ensure their vote counts in July.”

The proposal triggered constructive debate at a National Committee (NatCom) meeting in Christchurch recently.

The committee is made up of two delegates from each of the organisation’s seven regions.

“There are pros and cons to both sides of the plan,” said elected NZ Young Farmers Board member Chelsea Millar.

“Lifting the age limit would enable clubs to grow their membership and retain experienced members as mentors.”

“Keeping the status quo would help drive succession in some clubs,” she said.

A discussion paper considered by NatCom delegates said the age of “people entering the agriculture industry is increasing”.

It also said “career changers in their early 30s” can’t be supported by NZ Young Farmers with the current age limit.

NatCom decided against putting a higher maximum age limit of 35 to the vote.

The FMG Young Farmer of the Year Contest Board wants the age limit for the contest to remain at 31.

“We believe any change would increase the average age of contestants,” said chairman Dean Rabbidge.

“That would then impact our ability to attract members leaving TeenAg.”

“The current age limit also allows us to retain experienced former contestants to help organise the contest,” he said.

The Board is planning to hold several telephone conference calls on the proposal between now and July.

“This would enable members to dial in, raise their concerns and get answers to any questions they may have,” said Jason.

In the coming weeks, regional chairs and secretaries will also be seeking members’ feedback.

Voting at the AGM will be done via regional representatives.

“I’d encourage all members to have their say at regional meetings, or by filling out at proxy voting form at those meetings,” said Jason.

Board Terms

Members will also be asked to vote on a change to the term of elected positions on the NZ Young Farmers Board at the AGM.

It’s proposed that the terms of elected board members be extended from two years to three years from 2019.

“Our current structure means it’s possible to have a complete turnover of all four elected board members within 12 months,” said Jason.

“This presents a risk to the continuity and stability of the board.”

The proposed change would see two board positions up for election in 2019, one in 2020, one in 2021 and then two positions in 2022.