Hill Country Futures - Resilient farmers and resilient forages for the future
A thriving hill country farming sector is crucial for New Zealand’s economy and its regions. However, it faces numerous challenges, such as increased regulations, and changing societal expectations. To ensure the longterm success and well-being of farmers, farm systems, the environment, and rural communities, support is essential for building lasting resilience. To address some of these challenges, the Hill Country Futures Partnership programme was initiated, receiving $8.1 million funding over five years. This programme, cofunded by Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ), the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, PGG Wrightson Seeds, and RAGT New Zealand, concluded in 2023. During the programme, the farming community were actively engaged, and a collaborative research approach was employed involving B+LNZ, farmers, universities, Crown Research Institutes, and consulting agencies. The programme consisted of interconnected workstreams with a focus on resilient farmers and future-oriented forages. It generated a wide range of resources, including easily accessible extension materials, tools, and scientific publications, covering social, environmental, and technical aspects to support New Zealand’s hill country farming systems. And it showed how a collaborative approach, inclusive of researchers and farmers with diverse backgrounds and expertise, can help create a more resilient hill
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