Wairarapa farmer and B+LNZ National Farmer Council Executive Chair, Paul Crick, shares how contributing to B+LNZ’s Farmer Council has had a positive impact on his farming business.
Paul Crick, a dedicated sheep, beef, and deer farmer from Wairarapa, stands at the forefront of the farming community, not just in his role as a farmer but also as the current Chair of the B+LNZ Farmer Council.
With an 850-hectare plot under his care, Paul is more than a humble farmer – he's a passionate advocate for the industry, finding joy in the challenges that farming presents.
Having been an integral part of B+LNZ's Farmer Council for over a decade, Paul now serves as its Chair, overseeing the council's activities at the national level. His journey with the council has not only enriched his understanding of the industry but has also had a positive impact on his farming business.
For Paul, what he likes most about farming is in the multifaceted challenges it presents – from weather fluctuations and market dynamics to managing teams and addressing environmental concerns. He explains, “If you give farmers a problem, they’ll look for solutions – that’s just part of our DNA.”
The decision to join the B+LNZ Farmer Council was driven by Paul's appreciation for the people involved.
“You're with a group of like-minded and engaged farmers or people involved and passionate about our industry. So straightaway you’re a part of an instant network.
“I’ve certainly found it extremely beneficial over time. I have made lifelong friends spread out right across the region and wider New Zealand.”
Paul says it has also been beneficial in terms of business collaborations among council members. “Over time you get to know these people deeply and build respect and trust for each other. This has led to farmers working together, trading stock and so on,” he says.
Engaging in his role as Chair has been mentally stimulating for Paul. He says, “It has been fantastic for me to mentally ‘get off farm’ and contribute. It recharges my batteries.”
He says the long-term commitment of Farmer Council members also fosters deeper relationships, enabling meaningful conversations and the sharing of ideas and solutions.
“I get to engage with these other people who are doing some really cool stuff and making positive changes. It gets me thinking and it makes me more determined to find solutions in my own business.”
As the B+LNZ Farmer Council Chair, Paul emphasises the importance of the council's connection with the board, management, and B+LNZ staff. This governance aspect allows him to contribute insights, participate in strategic discussions, and ensure that the organisation remains farmer-centric. He sees the Farmer Council as an essential part of a cohesive trio, alongside the board and the organisation, collectively working towards the betterment of the industry.
Looking ahead, Paul envisions the B+LNZ Farmer Council to continue playing a crucial role in addressing regional needs and guiding the organisation through its challenges.
“At the heart of it all, we are by farmers, for farmers and it’s crucial we remain that way. That’s why the B+LNZ Farmer Council is so important.”
He emphasises the collective vision developed during the recent B+LNZ Farmer Council review process and highlights the importance of tapping into grassroots insights to ensure the organisation remains closely connected to farmers' concerns and needs.
For those considering joining a Farmer Council, Paul encourages them to take the leap.
“I’d encourage you to just come along to a meeting, see what it’s about and get a vibe for if it’s something you might like to do.
“I’d love to see more people all along of all ages, and of all backgrounds. The more diversity we have, the better we’ll be as a B+LNZ Farmer Council.
“Get in touch with your regional B+LNZ Farmer Council Chair or Extension Manager. There are options if you’re not a hundred percent sure such as a 12 month co-opt role.
“I’d also like to point out that there is a way to progress in your role and move into more of a governance position through the deputy chair and chair opportunities for each region.”
About B+LNZ’s Farmer Council
B+LNZ’s GM Extension Justine Kidd says, “B+LNZ established the Farmer Council to provide a pathway for farmers to lead, support and engage with our Regional Extension by setting regional priorities, helping with identifying critical topics and supporting Extension Managers to deliver events and activities that farmers want and that will make a difference.
“B+LNZ Farmer Councils are a key sounding board for B+LNZ. They represent farmers and provide advice to guide decision-making and help communicating with farmers.”
The B+LNZ Farmer Council review was completed in 2023 and recommendations from that review are currently being worked on. The review was an outcome of the 2023 AGM remits.
More information on B+LNZ’s website here. You can contact B+LNZ’s Farmer Councillors through your local B+LNZ Extension Manager.