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Associate Member for Owl Farm Management Committee

Owl Farm is located near Cambridge, Waikato; it is a 144ha (effective) demonstration dairy farm set up through a joint venture between St Peter’s School and Lincoln University.

A primary goal of the farm is to develop and share world-class resources, information, and on-farm practices with the dairy industry, particularly in the Waikato. We are doing this by applying proven research and extensive monitoring so that Owl Farm becomes an exemplar in production, financial, environmental and people performance while remaining focussed on building and maintaining high people and animal welfare standards.

The on-farm team is supported and guided by the Farm Management Committee, an experienced group of advisors with a broad range of skill sets representing our industry partners: DairyNZ, Fonterra FarmSource, Ballance Agri-Nutrients, PGG Wrightson Seeds and Westpac, together with farmers, St Peter’s and Lincoln University.

The Farm Management Committee also seeks to provide opportunities to grow and develop governance skills in young farming leaders, through an Associate Member position.  This position is for a period of 18 months, and the successful applicant will be supported as they learn the principles of governance.

Applications are currently being sought from farmers in the Waikato/Bay of Plenty area.  They should be already demonstrating leadership capabilities, and looking for an opening into governance, whilst also helping Owl Farm achieve its goals.

The application form FMC Associate Member Application 2021 gives more information.  If you are interested in this position, please complete and return the form via email to jo.sheridan@owlfarm.nz before Friday 30th April.

Two Kelloggers are finalists for the Fonterra Woman of the Year Award

Belinda Price

Rebecca Miller

We’re very excited for two of our 2018 Kelloggers Belinda Price and Rebecca Miller (along with one other finalist) who were named this month as this year’s finalists for the Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year award.  Belinda who is a sharemilker based in Whanganui and Rebecca who is a Dairy Farmer from Ashburton are both in the running for the respected industry award managed by the Dairy Women’s Network.

Well done Belinda and Rebecca, and we wish you both well at the Award’s Ceremony on 8th April, when the recipient of the Award will be announced.

Read the full story here:

Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year finalists focus on supporting other dairy farmers

Time to celebrate the role our primary industries play

Nuffield Scholar Rebecca Hyde

Article is sourced from NZ Farmlife’s ‘CountryWide’ February 2021 magazine

Written by: Annabelle Latz
Photo by: Andrew Kyburz

Time to celebrate the role our primary industries play, New Zealand

Let’s sing the praises of the skills and value of our primary industries, as we do for our New Zealand sports teams.

This is the vision of farm environment consultant Rebecca Hyde, who operates under her own brand TFD Consulting Ltd, which is short for ‘The Farmer’s Daughter.’

Based in Oxford, North Canterbury, she launched her business in 2020. Much of her work week involves talking with farmers about the ever-evolving raft of regulations, a somewhat new and often complex business tier within our traditional ‘Number 8 Wire’ agricultural sector.

Over the past few years health and safety, employment and water regulations, to name a few, have become permanent features on a farmer’s business plan, directed from central government.

“A lot of farmers don’t understand all of it. It’s all come at once,” says Rebecca, the former nutrient management advisor at Ballance Agri-Nutrients and Ravensdown.

Rebecca is not shy to remind farmers that these changes are here to stay.

“The regulations will never stop, and collaboration to grapple these changes, while remembering the ‘people’ element of farming, is a must.”

Rebecca says while there is regulation involved with her business, there is also a large element of best practice.

While some farmers need more critical conversations than others, Rebecca says some don’t get why things have changed, or don’t want things to change.

“My advice is, either make the changes and I can help you, or the next person might not be so nice.”

Born and raised on a sheep and beef farm in Scargill, North Canterbury, farming has always run strong through Rebecca’s veins, and she has never imagined working in any other sector.

“One thing I will always be is a farmer’s daughter. And I really feel privileged to sit down at a farmer’s table and help them now.”

Within her advisory roles, Rebecca has appreciated how in tune she has always been with farmers.

“You just get that mum and dad are trying to get the shearing done, need to get to kids’ sport, will be drafting sheep in the dust, picking up calves in the rain… You just get stuff, and farmers appreciate this.”

What appealed to Rebecca about starting her own business was embracing the challenges, and having that natural instinct of what is happening on the land.

In 2017 Rebecca was awarded a Nuffield Scholarship, which she utilised to investigate globally how collaboration works well between groups in the agricultural sector, and how well New Zealand was doing comparatively.

Her travels took her to 13 different countries including Brazil, India, America, Canada, Denmark and China.

“One of the things that came across really clearly was that most groups saw the bigger picture of working together.”

Rebecca believes New Zealand at the time was not as strong on collaboration, as there was still plenty of segregation between farming industries: dairy, arable, non-irrigation, irrigation, sheep and beef, etc.

But this has changed, and collaborative groups such as the Primary Sector Council and the development of the Red Meat Sector story with Taste Pure Nature are great initiatives that encourage conversation, ideas, and solutions for the primary sector as a whole.

Rebecca cannot emphasise enough the importance of continued collaboration and communication, and the complexity of farming that must be acknowledged.

She talks about the three layers of farming: The ground layer is the physical farm, the middle layer is the farm management system, and the third layer is the people layer.

“And that is what makes a farm unique, the combination of all of them. And farmers must work out where that sweet spot is.”

Time and time again, Rebecca has sat in front of industry ‘experts’ with her fellow farming community.

“Farmers are expected to show up and contribute, but they’re not considered experts. I think that is something that’s really been missed – that people element.

‘One thing I will always be is a farmer’s daughter. And I really feel privileged to sit down at a farmer’s table and help them now.”

Farmers have the data and the systems – they are the people living that land and system. Farmers know their capabilities, their limitations.”

Rebecca admits there is no argument that the pressures on the environment are increasing, which is human-driven. Modern day regulations have put restrictions on farmers being able to make changes on their own farm, at their own discretion. Nowadays a farm environment plan, a nutrient budget, and in some instances, a land use consent, are required.

Rebecca certainly isn’t anti regulations, which she sees as tools for raising the floor, but agrees with farmers they can be confusing.

“Farmers know the practical, and they might not need the practical changes (such as fencing off waterways), but they might just need to know the new regulations.”

Should collaboration and the ‘people’ side of farming continue to flourish, the future of the New Zealand agricultural sector is a bright one.

“Agriculture is a big business in New Zealand, and it creates business minds.”

Rebecca believes good farmers are open to different types of experts; for example dry land farmers farming for moisture and using soil moisture monitors.

She says Covid-19 has really changed how people are looking at their own health, and sees farmers as being a big part of this as food producers.

“I would like to see a future where New Zealanders are proud of what farmers do. Where someone in central Auckland is singing the praises of their New Zealand- grown food, because they are proud of what we can produce, like we are proud of our sports people.”

The Knowledge Hub

Over the past 12 months GroundHQ have been working on pulling together a podcast series called The Knowledge Hub focused on connecting farmers and growers with information and knowledge on the topical issues facing agriculture.

The Knowledge Hub is about creating a platform for informed conversation, and ultimately helping to create a path for environmental excellence for New Zealand’s farmers and growers.

Check out the first episode on regenerative farming (in a series of 8 podcasts that will be released every fortnight between December and March) featuring  our very own 2016 Nuffield Scholar Sam Lang.

His research was on the same topic and you can access the report here.

Click here to access the full podcast series.

Feel free to share this content across your own platforms, encourage conversation, and keep supporting  the New Zealand Food & Fibre Sector.

The Knowledge Hub is brought to you by Ground HQ, powered by Landpro.

Open Farms is back and looking for hosts

Strong connections between farmers and urban Kiwis are essential for a thriving agri-sector. The work of farmers should be valued and our customers need to understand what it takes to grow food.

We know that most people are disconnected from their food – so let’s do something about it.

That’s why Rural Leaders is a channel partner of Open Farms – a platform to reconnect urban Kiwis with our food, land and farmers via a nationwide open farm day on Sunday February 21, 2021.

Click through to their Visit a farm page.

We’re supporting Open Farms to find open day hosts, by connecting them with farming leaders like yourself. If you are farming close to urban areas around Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Tauranga and Dunedin and your keen to be an Open Farms host – You can register to host or request a call back on the Open Farms website.

Open Farms is a nationwide initiative to reconnect urban Kiwis with our food, land and farmers.

Few reasons why you should host an Open Farms Day

 

  • In March 2020, 3,500 Kiwis visited 45 farms across New Zealand for the inaugural Open Farms.

  • Your Open Farms event can be as small or as large as you like – farmer hosts choose the size, format and focus of their event.

  • The Open Farms Host Handbook answers all of your questions, including health & safety, activity ideas and tips for using your event to promote a product or diversification. Leave all the marketing and registrations to Open Farms – you just focus on running an event and sharing your farming story.

  • Post event research shows that just getting urban folks on farm, changes the way they think and feel about agriculture, and their own actions in the food system.