Having moved to New Zealand from the fringes of New York City with her family in 1998, Sarah Crofoot grew up on the iconic Coastal Wairarapa property, Castlepoint Station. The place that she calls home, even though she is based in Wellington now days, clearly influenced her passion for agriculture and the industry.
Treasuring her rural upbringing, Sarah originally had no intention of studying agriculture. However this all changed when she saw the opportunities and scholarships available in the industry and decided to attend Massey University and pursue a career in agriculture. “Because I grew up in New York it has made me appreciate how lucky we are in New Zealand, with our farming systems and the ability to produce sustainable premium products for the world market, and I wanted to be a part of it.”
While at University, Sarah made the most of all the opportunities available to her. In 2012 she spent five months studying at the University of Missouri, Columbia, as a visiting scholar. Undertaking a comparative study of business models in the NZ and United States red-meat industries, she looked at the structure of meat companies, particularly the different forms of co-operatives. She also led the combined Massey and Lincoln universities student delegation to the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association case study competitions in Shanghai, China, in 2012 and then to Atlanta, US in 2013. Experiencing international agribusiness has been invaluable for Sarah especially being exposed to cutting-edge information globally and working alongside some world-leading agriculture professors and business people. “In terms of my development these international experiences have been amazing.”
After graduating with a Bachelor of Agri-Commerce with first class honours, Sarah was employed by Federated Farmers where she is now the National Policy Adviser for Meat and Fibre. This means she looks after issues relating to the sheep and beef industry as well as having the trade portfolio and works with government officials and politicians to make sure the decisions they are making don’t adversely impact on agriculture.
With global agriculture firmly in her sights, Sarah is not one to sit still and advocates passionately for farmers in the modern economy. She recently attended the UN Committee on Food Security meetings in Rome as well as being part of the Global Research Alliances Fellowship programme and study tour on climate change with young farmers and scientists from six countries. Finding that these opportunities open more doors, Sarah has now been invited to Berlin to represent young farmer’s views at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture in January.
While Sarah wouldn’t be surprised if she eventually ended up farming on Castlepoint Station, she is still keen to pursue other areas of the sector first. “It’s a fantastic industry, with such amazing opportunities. I have been fortunate to have met many amazing people that have opened a range of doors.” Sarah looks forward to continuing to do her bit for the industry that has given her so much already.
Sarah we love how you are making the most of every opportunity that comes your way! Be it on the other side of the world or right here at home in New Zealand you are certainly stamping your mark in the primary industries!