Meat & Livestock News

Dan Boulton’s Rise at Silver Fern Farms

TL;DR: Dan Boulton, now CEO of Silver Fern Farms, guides the company with a focus on brand power and sustainability. His leadership aims to position SFF’s products at the premium market, aligning with consumer values on environmental responsibility and animal welfare.

A Journey Home

Dan Boulton, once part of Sealord’s team, craved a return to the South Island. The role at Silver Fern Farms (SFF) as Chief Supply Chain Officer offered just that, providing proximity to family and a chance to influence a major brand.

Attraction to SFF

SFF’s commitment to enhancing its brand both locally and globally resonated with Boulton. He admired the company’s focus on a brand-driven strategy, noting the importance of brand power in the sector.

Climbing the Ladder

Three months ago, Boulton ascended to CEO, a step that marked a peak in his two-decade career in the primary industry. This promotion followed his varied roles across management levels.

Early Inspirations

Raised in Timaru, Boulton enjoyed an outdoor life filled with fishing and hunting, influences that drew him to appreciate the primary sector deeply. His academic path in forestry at the University of Canterbury was chosen for both the outdoor life it promised and its substantial income prospects.

Career Beginnings

Boulton’s professional journey began at Carter Holt Harvey in Tokoroa, managing wood flow and then production planning. His career took him abroad and back, leading to a role at AS Wilcox, where he introduced the Perla potato to New Zealand.

Transition to Sealord

At Sealord, he initially took on the role of commercial manager for the aquaculture division, managing salmon, mussel, and barramundi operations across New Zealand and Australia. His responsibilities expanded into sales and marketing, enhancing his business acumen.

Entering the Meat Industry

Boulton’s entry into the meat sector allowed him to apply his extensive experience from previous roles. His work with growers and producers, managing processes from production to export, was instrumental in generating value for both.

Impact as CEO

As CEO, Boulton’s direct engagement with farmers has been crucial. He emphasises the importance of mutual understanding between farmers and processors to align on visions and strategies. He is optimistic about overcoming current economic challenges in the sheepmeat sector, attributing issues more to pricing strategies than demand.

Vision for the Future

Boulton is confident about the changing dynamics in consumer behaviour, particularly among high-value customers who increasingly prefer brands that align with their values on sustainability and animal welfare. This shift is drawing more customers to SFF, attracted by its commitment to environmental and emission reduction programs.

Looking Ahead

SFF’s strategy to position its New Zealand grass-fed beef and sheepmeat at the premium end of the market is more crucial than ever, aiming to mitigate the impacts of commodity market fluctuations.

“I am excited about the future of what we farm and how we sell it,” Boulton concludes, poised to steer SFF through these transformative times in the industry.