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I am trained in scientific research, organic agriculture, commercial horticulture, management, computing and ecology. I have undertaken a range of scientific studies in organic / ecological agronomy and agriculture, advised a range of farmers and growers in UK and New Zealand and managed two organic vegetable farms. I have excellent analytical skills, problem solving capabilities, and planning abilities with a calm personality and a dry sense of humour. My intellectual interests include ethics, science, philosophy and politics. My main hobby is mountain hiking (tramping) particularly in the Southern Alps of New Zealand.
Born 1968 in England. New Zealand, United Kingdom and Australian nationalities. Clean English and New Zealand driving licenses including trucks and heavy equipment.
Contact details: http:\\www.merfield.com\contact\index.htm
For details of my research and other publications please see my research page.
PhD in organic carrot seed production at Lincoln University, New Zealand.
M.Appl.Sci. 2nd Class Honours, Division One, in Ecology at Lincoln University, New Zealand.
Higher National Diploma in Commercial Horticulture (Credit) at Writtle College, England.
Ten O levels, two A levels at Grenville College, North Devon, England.
Founding head of The Future Farming Centre (January 2011 - current). The Future Farming Centre, (FFC) is dedicated to the science and extension of permanent and whole-system agricultures and horticultures, such as organic agriculture, ecological agriculture, agroecology, and biological farming, for the benefit of all farmers and growers. The FFC is part of the Biological Husbandry Unit (BHU) Organics Trust, based at Lincoln University, in Canterbury, New Zealand.
Director / shareholder of PhysicalWeeding and Agro-Ecological (June 2009 - current).
Independent organic / ecological consultant and advisor, Canterbury, New Zealand (June 2009 to December 2011)
Oregon State University (January - March 2009) Collaborating with Professors Ed Peachy and John Luna (Faculty of Horticulture) and presenting at a number of farmer and grower workshops and conferences on physical and ecological weed management.
Teagasc (the Irish Government's Food and Agriculture Development Agency), Johnstown Castle Research Centre , Co. Wexford, Ireland, (April 2007 to April 2009). First scientist employed by Teagasc specialising in organic agriculture. I had overall responsibility for advancing organic farming practices and expertise both within Teagasc and the farming community with the aim of increasing organic arable, and horticultural production in the Irish Republic. This included writing a guide for nutrient management in organic agriculture, assisting the newly established organic technical farm advisors, undertaking research into weed management with a focus on Rumex obtusifolius (docks) as well as presenting farmer workshops on weed and nutrient management plus speaking at field days.
Lincoln University (July 2002 to November 2006) PhD in organic carrot seed production at Lincoln University, New Zealand on the effect of crop density on seed quality, control of Alternaria dauci, Alternaria radicina and Cercospora carotae through thermal seed treatments, biological control agents, and thermal field treatment and the potential for using thermal techniques to control intrarow weeds in spring. Guest lecturer in BIOS 302 Organic Primary Production, presenter and guide to official agricultural delegations from Asia, visited INIA, Uruguay to advise them on setting up organic research and demonstration unit, and presenting at a range of organic field days and workshops. Student representative on Academic Board, Human Ethics Committee, Environmental Task Force, and Canterbury Tertiary Alliance Environmental Sustainability Working Group. Chair of the 2005 Postgraduate conference organising committee. Recipient of the inaugural Chris Hayes Memorial Outstanding Student Award.
Executor of fathers estate (April 2003 - September 2003). Suspended PhD studies and returned to UK to administer my fathers estate.
Sunnyfields Organic (March 2001 - July 2002). Reviewed and updated all aspects of crop production. Designed and installed new computer and network systems, revised the business strategy and reconstructed and expanded the farm's infrastructure.
Traveling and working (May 2000 - March 2001). Tramping / hiking holiday in New Zealand and Australia interspersed with computer and organic consulting, and visiting organic research centres in Australia and UK.
Lincoln University (February 97 - May 2000). Masters in Applied Science majoring in ecology. Thesis on commensalism between predators in agroecosystems. Extensive involvement in student representation, including University Council, Academic Board, Human Ethics Committee, various taskforces, Academic Audit, Environmental Policy and other groups. Helped found Post Graduate Student Representative Group. Active in a number of student societies including secretary of environmental group. Occasional lecturing in organics and 300 level computer tutor. One of seven representatives of the organic movement that negotiated, with the University, for the continuation, and evolution of, the Biological Husbandry Unit (BHU) founded by Bob Crowder. Advisor for 'Kowhai Farm' a commercial, 56 ha, organic farm situated at Lincoln run as a joint venture between the University and Heinz Watties. Project manager for two science projects on Kowhai farm researching organic weed control and environmental impacts funded by AGMARDT and the Ministry for the Environment. Work placement experience with biological control of weeds team at Landcare Research.
Lincoln University Students Association (1998). Elected as Vice President, taking over Presidential position after incumbent quit. Restructured association to ensure it addressed an evolving tertiary environment. Negotiated new direct funding arrangement with Lincoln University to address voluntary student membership Act. Continued to advise 1999 and 2000 Executives.
Organic Vegetable Consultancy (1996 - 2000). Providing consultancy for a number of growers both established and new to organics, with a focus on farm systems, and machinery.
Harts Creek Farm (1994 - 2000). Worked and consulted at Harts Creek Farm, a 125 ha organic certified mixed cropping farm, owned and operated by Tim Chamberlain.
Canterbury Commercial Organics Group (1997-2000). Set up, ran, and ensured continuation on leaving, of regional organic industry group with over 100 members, quarterly newsletter with regular field days and seminars.
Kellogg Rural Leadership Program (1999). Awarded a place on the 1999 New Zealand Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme.
Executor to the estate of step father (September 95 - October 96) Administered the estate of and managed late step fathers building and decorating business in the UK.
Lincoln University (February 95 - September 95). Post Graduate Diploma in Applied Science, studied horticultural management, computing and feminism. Extensive involvement in University's environmental committee and future planning group plus the student environmental group. Relief lecturer in organics and computer tutor.
Traveling and working (August 94 - March 95). Traveling round New Zealand including wwoofing. Contracted to grow organic crops for processing and fresh export to Japan. Wrote papers on organic soil & nutrient management and organic pest management for MAF.
Weleda New Zealand Ltd (March 93 - August 94). Weleda grows medicinal plants for its own use and a wide range of fresh herbs and gourmet produce for direct sale to top restaurants throughout NZ. Assistant manager, worked with the manager on all aspects of production. Designed and coded ordering and invoicing computer program.
Australian tour (November 92 - March 93). Toured Australia and New Zealand.
Sunnyfields Organic and Naturally Best Foods (July 90 - October 92). Prime responsibility for the design and implementation of the farms cropping and computer systems. Worked in conjunction with the owner on the overall management and financial control of the business.
Merediths (January 89 - December 89). Responsible for all aspects of crop production and management of glasshouse containing varied crops and the organisation of production staff.
Writtle College (September 87 - July 90). Higher National Diploma in Commercial Horticulture. Member of academic committee revising curriculum and teaching standards. Specialised in glasshouse production, thesis on integrated pest management in glasshouse ornamentals.
Southdown Flowers (September 86 - September 87). Responsible for irrigation, bed preparation, spraying, harvesting, driving, weekend supervision and lockup duty.
Grenville College (September 81 - July 86). Head of senior boarding house, head of school's film projection and theatre lighting unit.
Expert in use of Microsoft Word, Excel, and Windows. Good working knowledge of PC hardware, web design and HTML. Familiar with systems analysis, relational database design and Access.