Good to great extension: Influencing on farm change at pace and scale.

Executive Summary

Knowledge and skill alone does not result in practice change. Verbal persuasion, even well-articulated has low impact. Great extension is about a consistent focus on delivering to farmer needs that are self identified as well as those from gap analysis and doing it in a way that results in practice change.

Seventy percent of change programs fail because we assume people are ready to change. Understanding the stage a person is at on the change cycle helps target effective extension intervention which improves the probability of being successful.

To influence change, at pace and scale, requires a focus on changing behaviour, and to change behaviour we need to change the way people think. Most human behaviour is learnt from observing others. Through observation, one forms an idea of how new behaviours can be performed, and this coded information serves as a guide for future action. Practice change will occur when an individual believes they can be successful (self-efficacy).

Farmers learn best from other farmers and keeping farmers in the driving seat will increase participation and relevance of any extension activity, leading to more change on farm.

Identify barriers and then remove them before trying to change behaviour. Involving the farmers who need to change in the planning of the change initiative and the decision-making makes it easier to identify barriers and enables trust. Making general principles local through role modelling and or good story telling reduces barriers to change.

Breaking recommendations into small change steps helps to make success easy. Following up, and involving gatekeepers (decision makers) of the system are key triggers for change as restraining forces are reduced.

To support self-efficacy any change program requires some one on one and or group peer support as change is often stressful and confidence may be lacking.

Successful practice change begins and ends with a successful partnership. Therefore extension professionals will be more effective by building an ecosystem of partners.

The extension professionals’ toolkit needs a change model that guides extension to work systematically through the change process with farmers. It also needs an evaluation framework to measure effectiveness. One model is the See (belief’s), Do (behaviours), Get (results) Model. If a farmer is not happy about their results, extension can work with the farmer to review their beliefs which can then be challenged to change their behaviour to improve the results.

Recruiting extension professionals for head (intelligence), heart (passion) and tenure, helps to build trust and credibility with farmers which is important to influence change. Building capability is important in both hard skills (technical) and soft skills (understanding people and relationship management). Persistence is also needed as change happens over time (at least 3 years).

The recommendations outlined in this report operate as interdependent determinants in practice change. These recommendations will not only help extension professionals do their job effectively but also enable them to enjoy their work more while being effective at influencing change on farm.

Good to Great Extension: Influencing on farm change at pace and scale – Tafadzwa Manjala

Nuffield Director appointed following review

Nuffield Director appointed following review

The Trustees have over the last few months been working through a process to appoint a permanent Director of the New Zealand Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust. Many of you may ask why this is necessary.

We have identified that to ensure the long term viability of the scholarship within New Zealand we needed to improve our performance with our existing sponsors and create an environment that actively encourages new investment by potential sponsors. To be able to enhance and develop new and existing funding relationships was the key skill set we were looking for in the appointment process for the position of Director.

We were delighted with the response and quality of the applicants who applied. From this strong field we would like to announce that we have engaged Richard Green of Ashburton to fill this role. Richard is in his early 40’s, married to Vicky with three children. He has a strong background and experience in agriculture and business and a passion for rural leadership.  A brief outline of his working career is as follows:                                         

  • BAg  Com Lincoln
  • Agricultural Business Consultant for Agriculture NZ
  • Director of Sales and Marketing of Agricom NZ Ltd (now part of PGG Wrightson)
  • International Seed Business Manager for PGG Wrightson
  • Director of a number of companies involved in agribusiness and other sectors

We are sure all scholars will join with us in welcoming Richard to the Nuffield fold. He attended the Wellington section of the Contemporary Scholars Conference to meet his international colleagues and contemporaries.

He is due to start in this part time contract position officially in early April. Please, if you should happen to meet him make yourself known.

This appointment is a major development for the NZ Nuffield Scholarship program and we are confident that Richard will bring his range of skills to enhance the way we operate. Barbie Barton will continue in her role with the secretariat work for New Zealand Nuffield allowing Richard to fully concentrate on the relationships needed to add real value to our sponsors.

For more information

Richard Green, New Zealand Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust Director, 03 307 8159,0274 973 692

Stuart Wright, New Zealand Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust Chairman, 021 329 763

2012 Nuffield Scholars

2012 Nuffield Scholarships to research strong wools, farmer capability development and arable farmingThree Nuffield Scholarships have been announced for 2012.  Nuffield Scholarships assist individuals with vision and energy, who wish to make a difference to farming, food and rural communities.  The 2012 New Zealand Nuffield Farming Scholars are:
Sandra Faulkner (Gisborne)
Sandra and her husband Robert, have a very mixed property comprising sheep and beef, 350 hectares of arable corps and a citrus orchard. Sandra is the Chair of Gisborne TB Free and has been a chairperson of Federated Farmers Gisborne/Wairoa Meat and Fibre.
Sandra’s research topic will be around the strong wool industry, with her looking to extend the Kelloggs project she is currently working on.
Richard Fitzgerald (Methven)
Richard is the Chief Executive Officer of New Zealand Young Farmers and with his wife Ruth, farms 253 hectares of intensive mixed cropping in Methven.  He started working for New Zealand Young Farmers full time in 2002, initially as the Contest Manager for the National Bank Young Farmers Contest and has been its Chief Executive Officer since 2007.
Richard’s research topic will be on the capability development of farmers through farmer networks.
Michael Tayler (Temuka)
Michael farms 800 hectares over three properties in a family partnership with his brother, Nick Tayler. Their intensive arable business grows cereals, small seeds, carrots for juicing and potatoes. They also farm a sheep and beef and cattle unit.
Michael’s research topic will look at arable rotations and the sustainability of current practices.
For more information:
Sandra Faulkner, 021 529 041, 06 862 8655, randsfaulkner@xtra.co.nz
Richard Fitzgerald, 027 241 6353, 03 302 1804, richard.fitzgerald@youngfarmers.co.nz
Michael Tayler, 027 222 4777, 03 615 8771, michaeltayler@xtra.co.nz
Stuart Wright, New Zealand Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust Chairman, 021 329 763, 03 318 3897

L to R  Richard Fitzgerald, Michael Tayler and Sandra Faulkner

New Zealand and Asia

February 2012 and published in Farmer’s Weekly’s Pulpit SectionNew Zealand agriculture must embrace long term relationships with Asian customers, in particular China, says 2011 Nuffield Scholar David Campbell.  The Synlait employee has just completed his Nuffield Scholarship study report detailing two Asian markets, China and India, and outlining key market advantages, challenges for more profitable and sustainable markets.
It troubles me that so many of us have such a narrow view on China given they are our number one market for the next century.
In the last decade New Zealand agricultural exports to Asia have increased 71% to NZ$6 billion with China now the largest of these Asian markets. Growth is set to continue as the Asian economies continue to outpace those of the US or Europe.
An increasing proportion of Asia’s large population will develop internationally competitive purchasing power and consumers will be more able to afford the safe, high quality and innovative foods that NZ agriculture is capable of producing.
I spent March through August 2011 overseas as part of his Nuffield Scholarship. Being so far away from normal life and work for Synlait was a great part of the challenge and the experience.
First on the schedule was a global focus tour with a group of Australian Nuffield scholars. We basically went around the world – Brazil, Mexico, the US, Canada, Scotland – looking at all aspects of agriculture. We looked at farms and farm systems, visited processors, research institutions, wholesalers, retailers, trade officials and government departments – even the US Congress. An important part of the whole Nuffield experience is to give a well-<wbr></wbr>rounded look at agriculture globally.”
I met up with my wife Sue in Italy before heading off on my own three month study tour of India, China and Japan to form the basis of the report.
China can be described as New Zealand agriculture’s number one market for the next century due to its on-<wbr></wbr>going economic strength, population dynamics and Government policy direction. The New Zealand/China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and our reputation for high standards of food safety represent key market advantages for us.
But New Zealand also faces challenges in understanding and engaging with Chinese customers, including language and cultural barriers, low purchasing power parity, New Zealand’s lack of capital and scale and Chinese Government processes.
The release of my report appears timely given the recent interest and comment on the Chinese purchase of the Crafar farms. While I don’t want to specifically enter the debate I believe the OIO made the right decision, and that it appears that Landcorp is doing a good job of engaging with the Chinese buyer for a win-<wbr></wbr>win outcome.
My four key solutions for China are; get closer to the customer, build relationships, extend the value chain with a ‘One World’ approach, and get clear on strategy so we focus our attentions on what the customer wants and how we can add value for them. China is setting up long term strategic partnerships and supply chains around the globe. They’re demonstrating they want to engage with the world. NZ has natural advantages and a great reputation in agriculture so it makes sense for China to look for agricultural investments and relationships here.
One of New Zealand agriculture’s key advantages over its competitors at the moment is the country’s status as the first OECD nation to sign a free trade agreement with China. But we’re missing out on some of the benefits that the FTA has created because of an apparent fear of Chinese investment. We’re really short of capital, and China has lots to invest. So we have to marry the two together – take the capital and the pathway to market, concentrate on what we do really well or where we have unique advantages, and commit to mutually-<wbr></wbr>beneficial relationships. If we’re too narrow-<wbr></wbr>minded in our view on China, they will look elsewhere and we will miss out forever.
If people take the time to visit China they will see there’s a significant amount of pollution, large tracts of land in China are desert and there is huge pressure on natural resources to sustain their population. They just don’t have the agricultural production they need to feed themselves. And they often don’t trust the safety of the food that they do produce. This provides a great opportunity for New Zealand agriculture to capitalise on.
India represents a significant potential market for NZ agriculture worthy of development and investment; however it is currently a much smaller market than China.  One of the advantages for New Zealand agriculture is an existing “brand NZ” presence through international cricket, while market challenges include significant agricultural tariffs, diverse culture and taste preferences, low beef consumption, lack of significant cold chain and modern retail infrastructure and bureaucracy. For India, I believe, one solution would be to encourage the signing of a NZ/India bilateral FTA.
*David Campbell will be presenting his report to the Allflex Platinum Primary Producers Conference in March, as well as the Nuffield Conference in April and is happy to discuss his findings with others in the industry interested in greater engagement with Asia.
The report can be downloaded from www.nuffield.org.nz.
For more information please contact David Campbell on 03 373 3052 (work), 021 0239 7306 or email David.Campbell@synlait.com or Barbie Barton, NZ Nuffield Scholarship Trust, 06 304 9495.

New Technologies in Arable Farming

Due to rapid advances in equipment, software and expertise, the Precision Agriculture industry will continue to progress and evolve helped by a greater uptake from farmers. The ever increasing environmental pressure now on farming means the ability to accurately apply, record and map any inputs will become more important than ever.

Read about Michaels report here:http://www.fwplus.co.nz/article/scholar-calls-for-gm-revisit?p=6

Or, download the executive summary and/or full report below.

The Nuffield Scholarship Programme

The award offers the opportunity for overseas travel, study of the latest developments in a number of leading agricultural countries, and provides an entrée to leaders and decision makers not accessible to the ordinary traveller.The Trust comprises those previous scholars who recognise the benefits they and New Zealand agriculture have enjoyed as a result of the sharing of the Nuffield experience.
The Trust assists past scholars to continue to share the benefits of their scholarship, to share new experiences and ideas and to locate and foster potential new leaders for New Zealand agriculture in its many forms.
In addition, the New Zealand Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust provides a network for information through newsletters, the website and conferences between former scholars to keep them up to date with Trust developments.
This site tells you more about the Nuffield organisation, its history, its future and the opportunities it presents.
Our mission is to develop leadership and excellence in all aspects of New Zealand agriculture and we are happy to share this with you.

2013 Nuffield New Zealand Scholars announced

They are spread from Northland to Southland – Dairy NZ regional leader Tafadzwa Manjala from Whangarei, ANZ rural banker Sophie Stanley from Hamilton, rural entrepreneur Lisa Harper from Picton, Meridian Energy national agribusiness manager Natasha King from Christchurch and Northern Southland farmer and retailer Stephen Wilkins from Athol.The research topics they are likely to cover are faster uptake and application of current and new management practices on farm, the use of social media to boost the New Zealand brand, encouraging innovation in rural businesses, using gas and electricity generation to solve effluent and water management issues and looking into synergies between arable and dairy from a nutrient and effluent perspective.
The Nuffield NZ Scholarship offers the opportunity for overseas travel, study of the latest developments in a number of leading agricultural countries, and provides an entrée to leaders and decision makers not accessible to the ordinary traveller.
Successful applicants have the opportunity to develop a better understanding of New Zealand and international relationships through at least four months travel. Scholars participate in a Contemporary Scholars conference with 60 Nuffield Scholars from around the world and a six-week Global Focus Programme with an organised itinerary through several countries with other scholars. Finally they have their own individual study programme with a research report due at the end of their travels.
Historically only two to three annual scholarships have been awarded, but Nuffield New Zealand Director Richard Green says it has been the organisation’s vision to grow the programme.
"We wanted to be able to award five scholarships without dropping our high quality standards and expectations on scholars. An increase in scholarship numbers has only been possible with the extra financial commitment from the partner sponsors, Dairy NZ, B+LNZ, FMG and AGMARDT as well as other supporting sponsors being FAR, Mackenzie Charitable Foundation and Landcorp," he says.
"Nuffield and our sponsors have identified the opportunity and the need for more emerging leaders with the global vision and international connections that can be gained through a Nuffield Scholarship."

The five 2013 Nuffield New Zealand Scholars are:

Hamilton’s Sophie Stanley, 26, has agricultural science and economics degrees from Massey University (2005-2008). She currently works for the ANZ Bank in Morrinsville managing a portfolio of 60 customers, mostly dairy. She completed the Kellogg’s Rural Leadership programme this year with the research project centred around the value of "Brand New Zealand" in our value added primary products in Asian markets. She plans to take this a step further in her Nuffield studies to investigate how New Zealand’s agriculture industry can use social media and technology more effectively to both promote the NZ brand and promote innovation and knowledge transfer between farmers and industry, while at the same time attempting to reduce the rural/urban divide.
Christchurch’s Natasha King, 39, is national agribusiness manager for Meridian Energy and recently finished as chair of Canterbury Netball. She took the journey of share milking through to farm ownership and then stepped out of the gumboots and into the corporate world in the late 1990s.
One of her goals is to move into an equity farm partnership on a large irrigated dairy unit. Natasha is passionate about mentoring and progression within the dairy industry and has a close association with Dairy Industry Awards and AgITO. Her likely research topic is whether generating gas and electricity can solve the effluent and water management issues for New Zealand agriculture. Natasha has two daughters, Victoria and Laura Shaw, who are 18 and 17 respectively, and partner Brett Hare.
Stephen Wilkins, 47, has been farming in a family farming business since 1982 and is based in Athol in Northern Southland. The business includes sheep and beef breeding operations, a deer unit, dairy and dairy support. Stephen’s role focuses on an intensive arable system and the agronomy for the whole business. He has also been setting up a farm shop, run from an historic woolshed on the farm, selling farm grown and local produce and their own meat brand Athol Valley Meats. Stephen’s potential research topic is to look at synergies between arable and dairy from a nutrient and effluent perspective. Stephen and his wife Heather have three daughters – Hannah, Ella and Molly.
Tafadzwa Manjala, 38, from Whangarei, is two thirds of the way through a Masters degree in Agriculture at Massey University, studying extramurally while working as a regional leader for Dairy NZ. He has worked for Dairy NZ since 2004, organises the Green to Gold Group (business-focused discussion group) and until a few months ago was a councillor on the New Zealand Institute of Primary Industry Management. Tafadzwa also has a number of qualifications from his native Zimbabwe. He would like to research how New Zealand can facilitate faster uptake and application of current and new management practices on farm. Tafadzwa and his wife Whitney have two children 10-year-old Rufaro and six-year-old Rosa.
Picton’s Lisa Harper, 37, was the 2011 winner of the Rural Women Enterprising Woman Award and a finalist in the 2009 Cuisine Artisan Food Awards. She has a Masters in Business Management from Massey University (awaiting final results), a PhD in plant pathology from Lincoln University and a science degree from Victoria University. She was diverted from her academic career in 2003 when a family illness saw her return from working in Europe to take over the family farm in Marlborough where she grew up. The family started a business involved in cheese manufacturing and educational tourism – Lisa’s responsibilities include operations management, marketing, sales/customer service and quality control/hazard management. Lisa already has a love of research and through her Nuffield scholarship might look at how to encourage greater levels of innovation in rural businesses and identify some of the road blocks that might be preventing businesses from taking their ideas further.