Agritech Group Stakeholders

Meet our collective of highly experienced advisors to the board, stakeholders, and suppliers to the Agritech Group.

The Agritech Group Ltd has engaged the services of a highly experienced team of advisors who will help the development of the various businesses over the next one to three years.

The business will embrace B Corp standards, striving to achieve a certification that will underpin the ethos of voluntarily meeting the highest standards for social and environmental performance.

Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.

- Warren Bennis

Meet the Advisors

John McWhirter

Advisor Agritech Group Ltd

John is an experienced Chief Executive Officer and is the current CEO of WoolNZ, a former CEO of Hellers NZ Ltd with a career pathway that included GM roles with George Weston Foods and PGG Wrightson Ltd. John has a demonstrated history of working in the food production industry. He is skilled in sales and executive-level negotiations, strategic planning, business development, and marketing strategy, and he can craft and deliver a strategy for growth. 

John is an influential business development professional who graduated from University of Canterbury.

Conor English

Advisor Agritech Group Limited

Experience in Government and Parliamentary Relations, Policy, Agriculture, Exporting, Investment, Technology and Smart Cities. Represented Farmers, New Zealand, and his business locally and internationally at all levels, dealing with Governors, Prime Ministers and Presidents.

Previously CEO of Federated Farmers of New Zealand, CEO of Property Institute of New Zealand, Commercial Director of The Property Group Former Independent Advisor to the Reserve Bank of NZ and Beehive Staffer. Chairman of Agribusiness New Zealand Ltd, President of NZ Esports, and director of several companies.

Jo Coughlan

Advisor Agritech Group Limited

25 years’ experience in senior public relations, media relations and communications roles, working in and around Government dealing with politicians and officials. Beehive experience as Press Secretary to Foreign Minister and Minister of International Trade. Corporate experience incl. NZ Tourism Board, The National Bank of NZ Ltd, AMP/Ergo and New Zealand Aluminium Smelters Ltd.

Governance experience including nine years as a Wellington City Councillor - six of those as Chair Economic Development; Director Positively Wellington Tourism, Life Education Trust New Zealand and Independent Director Dairy NZ.

Strategic Partners

Financial Management & Accounting

Mathiesons will support the financial management and reporting processes. The monthly management and annual accounts will be generated using Xero accounting software, allowing a real-time dashboard for monthly business performance.

This application will also enable accurate invoice generation and a bank account interface. In year one, a part-time financial administrator and sales support employee will form part of the team.


Harmans are a team of Christchurch-based Lawyers that have served the Canterbury district with pride since 1888. They provide a comprehensive range of legal services, from Asset Protection, Estate Administration and Property Law to Resource Management, Dispute Resolution and Employment Law.

Meet the Operations Team

Jason Rickard

Rural/Lifestyle Sales Consultant Agritech Property Developments Ltd

Jason Rickard works from their Ashburton branch as a Rural Sales Consultant for Property Brokers.

He is part of a strong rural sales team and has been involved in numerous transactions since starting his real estate career in 2022.

With his background in Rural Finance and hands-on farming, Jason has gained valuable insights into what it takes to achieve successful outcomes for vendors and purchasers.

He holds a Bachelor of Agriculture and Commerce degree from Lincoln University and is also a member of the Institute of Directors.

Jason is involved in many community activities, such as rugby, school board, and local halls and trusts.

If you want to make your next property investment, please don’t hesitate to contact Jason for more information on how he can help.

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Paul Bates

Operations Manager of Agritech Group Limited

Paul is an Operations Manager with 40 years of experience in manufacturing. During this time Paul has significant management experience in a variety of industries.

Originally with a background in Food Manufacturing, Paul spent time in the Plastics Industry before becoming involved in the manufacture of Animal Feed, managing Feed Mills for Fresh Pork, NRM and Seales Winslow.

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Rob McFarlane

Advisor Agritech Animal Nutrition Limited

Rob’s career in the Ruminant Nutrition sector spans over 25 years. Originally from Scotland Rob has a strong practical background in Dairy farming and Ruminant Nutrition. Following his O.E. milking cows here in NZ he returned to the UK and started his animal nutrition career working for two major UK Feed companies. 

Rob and his family emigrated to NZ in 2004 and he spent his first four years working for CTS (the sole agency for Alltech products in NZ), where he provided sales training and technical support all over NZ, for their distributors specializing in the Animal Health and conserved forage sectors.

In 2008, Alltech officially opened their office in New Zealand and Rob joined the company as their Technical Sales Manager, before taking on the General Manager role for NZ and Fiji. 

Over his 17 year employment with Alltech, Rob held many positions, including GM Dairy (Aus & NZ) and latterly was the Commercial Director for Alltech NZ Ltd.

Rob and his wife Andrea decided to start MCF AGRI-TECH LTD, their Agri-Consultancy and Nutrition business in 2021 that focusses on providing practical nutrition advice and feed formulation for feed companies and farmers. 

Meet the Management Team

Simon Jones

Managing Director of Agritech Group Ltd

Simon’s background and experience include senior management and leadership roles that exposed him to animal genetics, animal feed manufacturing, sales and marketing, property development, media and communications, events, and entrepreneurship. 

Bringing together these skills and interests, combined with critical thinking and a focus on core values and principles aligned to sustainability, ensures the Agritech team will make a change for good for the New Zealand agri sector.

Simon encourages and challenges his friends and family to chase their dreams, embrace success and take positive learning from all life experiences. He is fortunate to have a team around him that embraces these values and a peer group that celebrates and encourages success.

Robert Sharkie

Robert Sharkie - GM Agritech Animal Nutrition

My commitment to the agricultural servicing industry spans 40 plus years right throughout
New Zealand as I progressed in my career.
I started in Motueka servicing the tobacco, hop, emerging horticulture ventures, and the broader farming scene and progressively moved south into Marlborough and then to Canterbury where we have been for 20 years.
I have had the pleasure of working right throughout New Zealand ( plus some overseas adventures) and have an awesome network to call on when required.
My dedication to my customers has been what has driven me over the years as I sought to provide solutions that would improve their farming operation and overall profitability.
As I moved to more senior roles that involved people management, I realised I could make a difference to people’s personal lives whilst assisting them to aspire to their career goals.
This industry has been good to me, and I want to constantly return that opportunity to all involved where I can assist.
I am married with 2 adult children who are married to their supportive partners plus 5 grandchildren which are a delight and put life into perspective.
I personally have a passion for classic cars and if allowed would have a 10 car garage and a 2 bedroom house !

Freddy Davison

Agritech Group Ltd CFO

Freddy has 20 years’ banking, corporate finance, and executive experience. His previous roles include CEO of VetEnt (one of New Zealand’s largest veterinary companies) and Head of Strategy of an ASX-listed Australasian based hotel owner operator. More recently, he has worked raising debt for many clients in complex and often highly geared environments. He has also worked as an investment analyst for a private equity fund, a senior analyst in the mergers and acquisitions team at Ernst Young and started his career as an analyst in the National Bank corporate team.

He grew up in the Canterbury and Marlborough regions, exposed to the sheep, beef, wine, dairy, deer, and shellfish industries, and maintains a passion for each. Over the last 15 years, he has also helped set up and is an active shareholder of two businesses in the wine industry.

Following university, he has been involved with hundreds of investment and development proposals over a wide range of industries. He has a Master of Business and a Bachelor of Science from Otago University.

Integration and innovation will provide the solutions that will steer agriculture towards a sustainable future.