“Business as usual” at the factory during the coming harvest period was the message from Colin Prebble, Chair of the transitional board. At the meeting with walnut growers in Canterbury on Sunday, he explained that the transition should be seamless from ownership by Jenny & Malcom Lawrence to ownership by the newly-forming co-operative. Board member Nelson Hubber explained that growers will be able to deliver walnuts to the factory as usual, but with two key differences to help lift factory efficiency: (a) there will a tougher line on rejecting very poor quality nuts, and (b) growers will be required to label their bags of walnuts by quality category (details here) to assist the quality grading process at the factory.
Growers at the meeting with the transitional board on Sunday heard the good news that a purchase agreement has been reached with factory owners Jenny & Malcolm Lawrence. The newly-forming co-op will purchase the assets of the business (plant and equipment, and goodwill) and will lease the factory building from the Lawrences. The paperwork is currently being reviewed by the lawyer. Details of the purchase are confidential until the deal is signed up.
The transitional board has written a constitution for the proposed new grower-owned co-operative company. This specifies how growers buy and sell shares, how they exercise their voting rights, and other aspects of how the co-op will work. A plain-English explanation can be found here, and we will have the constitution itself available on the website as soon as possible. It is currently being reviewed and finalised by the lawyer. Two schedules are planned to sit alongside the constitution: (a) terms and conditions of supply, and (b) quality standards for walnuts supplied to the factory. These are like appendices to the constitution but can be varied by the board as required.