A programme to help sheep and beef farming partners plan for their future and adapt to changes in their sector will be extended next year to 20 rural centres throughout New Zealand.

Established in 2017, the two-month business planning programme equips farming partnerships to set a future path for their businesses together, develop systems to achieve goals and lead their team to success.

Delivered by the Agri-Women’s Development Trust to more than 130 sheep and beef farmers this year, the Future Focus programme will reach 320 farmers in 2020 with continued support from the Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP).

Trust general manager Lisa Sims said for many farming couples the programme was the first time that they had taken time out to step back and look at the big picture together, then break it down into achievable, measurable steps.

“The business plans developed by participants are increasingly centred on family, environmental, farm succession and diversification goals, alongside financial targets.”

“Some farmers recognise that years of investment and work has put them in a good position to adapt and grow their business now. Proactively planning together creates understanding and confidence in future direction.

One couple who had invested in fencing waterways and biodiversity for 15 years was now planning to diversify into farm tourism that would enable farm succession.

Other examples included aiming for 90 percent recycling, improving marketing to grow a farm tourism business, reducing debt, focusing on time off-farm with family, addressing climate change and improving water quality.

Wairoa farmers Scott and Rebecca Morunga who completed Future Focus earlier this year said sitting down together to plan had provided huge benefit to their business.

“Whether it’s budgeting or goals we want to set as a couple and business, it’s given us a lot of confidence to address the challenges we’re facing. It’s opened our eyes up to different things we need to do – we’ve got a good environmental plan just by doing the programme.

“Having a strong business plan on paper in front of you makes it easier to transition through those periods of challenge,” said Rebecca.

“The whole programme environment was really good with different farmers there to learn from,” said Scott.

Details including how to register are available at www.awdt.org.nz/programmes/, or by calling 06 375 8180.

Further information from Lisa Sims, AWDT General Manager
Phone 06 375 8180 or 027 408 3372 email lisa@awdt.org.nz

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