All News  /  Team member profile: Aimee Charteris

Team member profile: Aimee Charteris

Few people are more closely identified with the Omega Lamb Project than geneticist Aimee Charteris. Aimee has been at the heart for the Headwaters breeding programme for six years, and the Omega Lamb Project from the beginning.

With a first class honours degree in livestock product, meat science, animal breeding and genetics from Massey University, the Gisborne farm-raised geneticist is one of a new breed. Few scientists have spent more time at all parts of the value chain. Even while studying, Aimee was, literally, ‘on the chain’, with three seasons experience in a meat processing plant during the holidays. Combined with working with offshore retailers, hands-on farming experience and her genetics background, she brings a unique perspective.

Three years out of university Aimee saw a need for a genetics service more focused on market-driven, integrated production systems. She has since designed and run various large scale, multi-farm breeding and commercial finishing programmes with electronic recording systems and electronic progeny testing technologies to collect carcass, meat and eating quality measurements.

For Aimee the wellbeing of the animal is paramount: “For an agricultural system to produce differentiated products that realise their full value it must have carefully linked genetic, management and environmental components.”

Aimee says she’s proudest of her work on the role of fat constitution in ewes, and the part it plays in animal wellbeing and product value.

“We now have the knowledge necessary to put the jigsaw puzzle together and it’s largely based on the fact ‘you are what you eat’ – whether you’re a sheep or a human.”

Aimee says she’s also encouraged by an emerging new approach to farming.

“The farmer of the future will be a central part of a co-ordinated supply chain where the potential of animals, plants and product builds with each step. The Omega Lamb Project and top Headwaters farmers are leading the way. The key is to keep at it – maintaining unique levels of collaboration around a unique proposition.”