Seventy sheep and beef farmers from around the country have been gathering in Wellington this week to equip themselves with the skills and knowledge they need to negotiate sustainable land and water management regulations in their own regions.
Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ Ltd) has facilitated the conference given the growing need for sheep and beef farmers to be represented on their local catchment groups and working with their Regional Councils to ensure sheep and beef farmers’ voices are heard as decisions on farming within limits are developed.
B+LNZ chief executive, Dr Scott Champion, says the group of farmers who are attending the two day workshop have put their hands up to say they want to learn everything they can about being involved in environmental decisions in their own regions.
“We know that local voices count in community discussions and this conference will be an opportunity for farmers to understand how to engage in their own community discussions and ensure the voice of sheep and beef farmers is heard and to help make the best long-term decisions for their farm business, their family and their communities.
“At the end of the day we want to increase the number of sheep and beef farmers promoting environmental sustainability and we want farmers to have the skills and knowledge they need to be heard in catchment stakeholder groups.”
Dr Champion says the conference provided an opportunity for farmers from different parts of the country to share their learnings and to be a collective of environmental leaders.
The conference is one of a number of environmental initiatives B+LNZ is focused on in support of sheep and beef farmers. The organisation has increased resourcing to ensure more farmers have access to Land and Environment Planning workshops and it has joined forces with Federated Farmers to increase input into local environmental policies that reflect sheep and beef farmer interests.
Additionally each of the seven B+LNZ Farmer Councils around the country has an environment ‘champion’ who will monitor and facilitate local action. The champions are:
Kevin Knowler, Southern South Island
David Gardner, Central South Island
James Hoban, Northern South Island
Ruth Rainey, Western North Island
Lana Hope, Eastern North Island
Rob Faulkner, Eastern North Island
Graeme Gleeson, Mid Northern North Island
Bob Cathcart, Northern North Island
Supplied by B+LNZ.