Mat Hocken, Manawatu, New Zealand

The collaborative network is the foundation on which to share and gather new ideas

Mat Hocken

His farm

  • Mat is the fourth generation to operate the family farm that dates back to 1890
  • 493 ha including 283 for dairy breeding and 210 for raising young cattle and growing cereals
  • 1,000 head of dairy cattle with two 50-stall rotary milking sheds

His innovations

Using new digital technology, Mat aims to create an open ecosystem and add a collective aspect to solution-seeking, thus placing farmers at the centre of innovation.

  • Organisation of the first Agtech hackathon in New Zealand in 2017 with the support of universities, high schools and start-ups
  • Creation of a farm cave: a venue for regular meetings between farmers and innovative firms to discuss the big challenges arising in farming.
  • Creation of a rural innovation development lab, a collaborative approach involving farmers, researchers and “techies” to:
    • identify, assess and prioritise opportunities for digital tech in farming that might foster sustainable economic growth whilst also protecting the environment,
    • generate innovative solutions in agriculture

His results

  • Created a new comprehensive development model for a sector of activity on a nationwide scale
  • Brought all stakeholders together within local networks
  • Has brought innovative ideas into contact with other sectors of activity in mixed networks – the notion of cross-pollination
  • Invented practical solutions relating to everyday farming operations, to manage pastures, water, mechanisation, health… shared innovation knows no bounds.

Find out more

The hackaton website
His Nuffield report from 2017

This profile was written by the organisation NUFFIELD France, a member of the NUFFIELD International network. The NUFFIELD Scholarship supports agriculture professionals on an international research and development journey. It is a window onto the world and access to a worldwide farming network.