Building a resilient business was one of the key messages those on the Louise Hartley Memorial Fund study tour will take home with them after three weeks in New Zealand.
The group of 12 young agriculturalists said they had spent time with a number of hosts, meeting ‘some of the best and most resilient businesses and people in NZ agriculture’.
Senior agricultural manager for the Co-op Olivia Nicholson, who was part of the study tour facilitated by Farmers Guardian, said a particular highlight had been meeting operators who ‘have a grasp of their end consumer’.
She said: “Accepting they have a very different market place, with more than 90 per cent of meat and dairy being exported; their ability to adapt to change within a market and also with the environment, is admirable.”
The group was told how farming systems have changed for NZ farmers, from sheep to dairy and then to horticulture, in a move to follow the highest achievable gross margin per hectare as export markets developed and communal irrigation was utilised.
Land value appreciation and water constraints had also dictated a continued change in land use, they were told.
Murray King, a New Zealand dairy farmer and chairman of the Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC), said: “The short history of NZ agriculture removes the hold of traditional farming systems and allows free thinking and ‘the number eight wire’ pioneer spirit to persist.”
Time’s flying on the #LHNZtour, key themes of establishing a brand, focussing on strategy and above all having a passion for the industry are coming through on all the visits pic.twitter.com/R24n2Qg9b3— Tom Dracup (@tom_dracup)