The Northland Dairy Development Trust was formed in 2006 to support farmers in securing quality dairy research relevant to Northland. The Trust is a joint initiative between NARF and Fonterra. Trustees are appointed by NARF and Fonterra with an independent chairman. They contract a science manager and Trust coordinator on a part time basis to ensure their objectives are met:

  • To raise the profile of Northland as an innovative and progressive dairying region
  • To secure and conduct robust research into issues relevant to Northland pastoral farmers
  • To promote the dairy industry in a positive fashion to both existing suppliers and members of the public outside the dairy industry through sound research with a focus on profitability and environmental stewardship
  • To evaluate new dairying technologies in an independent robust fashion
  • To utilise the valuable resource at NARF in conducting farm systems research capturing effects on environment, profit and people.


The Northland Agricultural Research Farm (NARF) was originally established as the Northern Wairoa Experimental and Demonstration Farm in the 1920’s. The aim was to lead the way in showing new techniques and to provide training opportunities for young farmers and students.

In 2001 the farm name was changed to reflect the Northland-wide focus it had developed over the years and it is operated as an Incorporated Society, owned by all Northland Dairy Farmers and managed by an executive committee of Northland farmers and rural professionals.

The farm has the unique ability to run systems trials on up to three farmlets of up to 80 cows each. This gives enough scale for robust comparisons and there is great interest in the work the farm does from the length of the country.

Another feature is the accessibility of the science to the dairy community. Farmers and industry members are encouraged to attend the fortnightly farm meetings and join the discussion and debate on the current and future management of the farm.

Our Impact

An independent impact assessment of our work was conducted by Nimmo-Bell in 2016. This showed a net benefit to Northland of over $300 million, and a return of $76 per $1 spent. Read the full report here

NDDT Economic Impact Assessment 2016


Our People

Terence Brocx

Terence BrocxChairman

Terence and wife Suzanne operate two dairy farms in the Bay of Islands, Northland. They have two children. Terence has always been interested in the dairy industry outside the farm gate. He is working with the Waitangi Catchment Group and Northland Regional Council on the long term plan. Terence is a Kellogg Rural Leadership Scholar (2010) and completed the Fonterra Governance Development Programme (2013). He was also a Northland Focus Farm committee member, and shareholder councillor for Fonterra.

Terence enjoys networking with other farmers and is passionate about supporting the vitality of dairying in Northland.

Penny Smart


Penny is a dairy farmer just south of Dargaville. Growing up on a local Dairy Farm she is passionate about Northland and Northland dairy farming in particular. Penny is a past Chair of NDDT and has been providing valuable input for many years. It is Penny’s belief that NDDT has a lot to offer in the way of facilitating science and research for all farmers throughout Northland, New Zealand and beyond.

Kerry Chestnut

Kerry ChestnutTrustee

Kerry has farmed all his life at Kokopu and began his dairying career after graduating from Massey University. He has gained extensive knowledge of overseas farming systems having farmed in Ireland and the USA.

Kerry has been part of the management team at NARF for the last 20 years and a trustee of NDDT since its formation.

Neville Porteous


Neville is well known throughout Northland for assisting young people into the industry via the sharemilking pathway. Neville and his wife Ainsley are involved in multiple farming partnerships around Northland, and are currently owner-operators on a property near Tomorata, which they have recently converted to total autumn calving.

Andrew Booth


Andrew was born and bred in Northland on the family farm in Titoki. He completed a DipAg in 2005 and a Dip Farm Management in 2007 at Lincoln University.He returned to Northland and together with wife Vicky is currently variable sharemilking the home farm, milking 430 spring calving cows on 174 effective ha. They are also involved in an equity partnership on a full autumn calving farm in Purua milking 470 cows.

They have two young girls and like to try and get involved in out local community as much as possible. Andrew enjoys being involved in the research into profitable dairying systems in Northland.

Kim Robinson

Trustee, Trust Coordinator

Kim has been a farm business consultant in Northland since 1990. She works with dairy farmers in all aspects of their businesses, including business planning, pasture and feed management, animal husbandry and reproduction, labour structures, succession planning and dispute resolution. She has a sound knowledge of the dairy farming industry and enjoys working with others to help coordinate dairy research and extension in Northland. Kim was a founding NDDT Trustee and is now contracted part time as the Trust Coordinator.


Chris Boom

Chris BoomScience Manager

Chris is a farm consultant with AgFirst Northland and is contracted by NDDT for the science manager’s role. Working for AgResearch prior to going into farm consultancy gave Chris extensive experience in farm systems and component agricultural research. In his role as Science Manager Chris is responsible for proposing and ensuring the integrity of science undertaken by NDDT. He is involved in a number of on-farm projects around Northland along with farm supervision and farm consultancy.

Anthony Giesbers


Anthony is an integral member of the NARF Farm committee. He makes the 90 minute journey every fortnight from Okaihau to Dargaville to provide valuable input and ideas to the management group discussions.

After leaving school Anthony was offered an opportunity to leave the city life and be part of the development of a run down beef and sheep farm and adjacent bush block.  The journey to dairy farming came about nearly 20 years ago with the purchase of a dairy farm in the Kaikohe area.  This purchase was an investment both people and land, and was done in conjunction/equity partnership with son Peter.  It was also part of what has become a very good succession plan.

Anthony has always felt that the Dairy Industry is a vibrant and dynamic one that provides many opportunities for people to learn and progress. He is interested and excited in the research work that is happening on the NARF Farm and enjoys being a part of the great learning opportunities coming out of the trials.