“Women learn financial and benchmarking skills and how to positively influence decision making in their farming teams and with their banks and advisors.” Lisa Sims – Agri-Women’s Development Trust  

Programmes to help strengthen farming businesses are being extended to more than 750 farming women next year at a time when farmers are responding to climate change and the need to operate in an environmentally sustainable way.   

Skills and confidence to manage current farming challenges are on offer through the Agri-Women’s Development Trust’s (AWDT) Understanding Your Farming Business (UYFB) programme, set to be held in 35 rural centres in 2020.

Ashburton is tagged as one of those locations with the UYFB programme starting in Ashburton in May 2020, running through June and July with the final session in August.

The UYFB programme will also run from May through to August in Lincoln, and starting in June, running over four months to finish in September the programme will also be presented in Oxford and Amberley.

The AWDT programme equips and supports women to generate economic, social and environmental progress in the primary sector and rural communities.  

With support from its industry partners AWDT researches, designs and delivers programmes that give women the tools, confidence and know-how to lead and contribute in new ways. 

Programmes are generally run in provincial locations to make it easier for women working in the primary sector to access support and development.

The Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP), funded by industry stakeholders, is a Primary Growth Partnership programme that is working to help the red meat sector increase productivity and profitability. 

Fully funded by the Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP) the UYFB programme is aimed at equipping and supporting women with the knowledge, skills and confidence to lift the performance and profitability of their farming businesses.

AWDT general manager Lisa Sims said over the past five years the programmes have seen more than 1900 farming women become more engaged in their businesses.

She said the UYFB programme would provide even greater benefits during the present period of dynamic change in the sector.

“Now, more than ever, UYFB will support farming women to help navigate these challenges together with their farming partners and prepare for the future by developing strong business plans that deal effectively with uncertain times.”

Delivered by AWDT’s team of topic and communications experts, the programmes empower sheep, beef and dairy farming women to contribute more fully to their business.

Each programme involves three full-day workshops, some homework and a graduation celebration held over a four-month period. 

“Along with generating plans for more resilient businesses, women learn financial and benchmarking skills and how to positively influence decision making in their farming teams and with their banks and advisors.” 

RMPP chairman Malcolm Bailey said the programmes are on track to achieve the goal of reaching 25% of New Zealand red meat farmers.

“These programmes are playing a critical role in ensuring NZ has a thriving rural sector.

“RMPP is committed to supporting programmes which provide the right practical support and learning for farmers,” Bailey said.

“It’s critical we develop and grow the business skills of both men and women within the farming partnership and attract the next generation of top talent.”

Another farming business programme, Future Focus, involving farming partners, women and men, will be offered in 20 locations throughout NZ in 2020 through RMPP and AWDT. 

Further details on the AWDT programmes, including how to register, can be found at www.awdt.org.nz/programmes/

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Judy McAuliffe is a writer, and publisher Essence Mid Canterbury. Her experience in media is extensive and includes approximately 15 years as Creative Director for The Radio Network, writing, and managing the writing of radio advertising, mainly in Invercargill and Greymouth. In the late 1990’s she transferred to Christchurch, moving into an Account Management role with 91ZM. In 2007 she and a business partner set up Essence Mid Canterbury, very quickly adapting her radio-writing skills to print media. Judy became sole owner of Essence Mid Canterbury in June 2014. Judy is a ‘people person’ and has found her niche writing feature stories about the community she lives in and the people who live there. She is also available for freelance writing assignments.