John Russell, GM Agriculture and Supply at Tegel Foods, loves being outdoors and on farms. He has spent lots of time on extended family and friends’ beef and sheep farms in Canterbury and Otago, as well as the odd spell as a relief milker on North Island dairy farms.
John has had three stints on the NZFMA board and was chairman of the board in the 2019-2020 year.
He has been with Tegel since completing his MSc in zoology at Canterbury more than 25 years ago, rising through the ranks and gaining experience in different parts of the organisation.
He started as microbiology laboratory manager and had other management roles before getting into the feedmilling side of the business in 2001. He held logistics management roles until 2005, when he became Manager, Grains and Commodities.
The challenges increased when John was promoted to Feeds Business Manager in 2014. It became his responsibility to deliver the lowest feed cost per kilogramme live weight of the chickens. This not only meant seeing that all legal, regulatory, welfare and quality outcomes were achieved, but also managing the diet formulation.
In his current role, which he has been fulfilling since 2015, John has end-to-end responsibility for the operation of Tegel’s feeds raw material supply chain.
“As the NZFMA board, we have to play a leadership role on behalf of the industry and set direction for meeting the key challenges in our industry,” says John. “We need to alert members to challenges, which can also involve lobbying the government on behalf of the industry.”
Outside of his work at Tegel, John is the director of two small businesses – his wife’s design consultancy and a small residential property investment business.