Celebrating our women on International Day of Rural Women

// Industry

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) is celebrating International Day of Rural Women on 15 October by highlighting the many initiatives it’s involved with that ensures women are supported and encouraged to lead. 

image of female farmers on-farm

The United Nation’s International Day of Rural Women is on the 15th October and recognises the critical contribution rural women have to the enhancement of agricultural and rural development. This year’s theme is about building rural women’s resilience in the wake of COVID-19.

B+LNZ’s Chief Executive Sam McIvor says B+LNZ would like to take International Day of Rural Women as an opportunity to highlight the immense work done by women in our industry and to share partnerships and programmes that aim to uplift and upskill women in the agricultural sector.

B+LNZ’s Generation Next Programme

B+LNZ also run our own programme aimed at the next generation of farmers and industry leaders. The programme delivers three workshops over a 6-month period and is open to those aged between 18-45 who are actively working on a sheep and beef or dry stock property (associated levy payers) with a willingness to learn new technical skills, widen their network, and understand drivers to improving on-farm profitability of the sheep and beef sector.

Applications open each year in February. For any queries, please contact Olivia Weatherburn on 027 801 7868 or email olivia.weatherburn@beeflambnz.com. Or visit the B+LNZ Generation Next Programme webpage

B+LNZ Farmer Council

Each B+LNZ region has its own Farmer Council where members are elected by local sheep and beef farmers. B+LNZ’s Farmer Council is a great opportunity for women in the industry to take a leadership approach.

Each year, our Farmer Councillors work with our extension managers to develop a regional delivery plan, guiding our work in the regions by advising us on research investment and the most relevant events and workshops to run.

Learn more about B+LNZ’s Farmer Councils and view B+LNZ’s National Farmer Council members on our website. 

To vote for your farmer council, join B+LNZ’s electoral roll.

Agri-Women’s Development Trust

B+LNZ is a strategic partner with Agri-Women’s Development Trust (AWDT) which empowers women with the skills and confidence to accelerate progress and change in their businesses, communities, careers and families. 

AWDT runs leadership programmes such as Escalator, a 10-month programme leadership and governance programme, Next Level, a six-month leadership programme, and It’s all about YOU, a two-day personal development workshop.

Other programmes include Generation Change, a one-day workshop to bring together young women to prepare for meaningful work in the primary sector, Know your Mindset. Grow your Influence an online wellbeing workshop, and Our Resilient Farming Business, a programme that prepares farmers and their businesses to grow through change.

AWDT’s General Manager Lisa Sims says, “Beef + Lamb New Zealand has stood shoulder to shoulder with us for the past decade in our work to grow almost 5,000 women and men, and in turn, their businesses, teams, communities and the primary sector as a whole.”

For more information, visit the Agri-Women Development Trust website.

Meat Business Women

B+LNZ are an affiliate sponsor of New Zealand’s Meat Business Women (MBW) who are a global professional networking movement for progressive women working across the meat industry. Meat Business Women’s aim is to connect women from all roles within the meat industry across the globe. They are recognised by the United Nations (UN) as a solution to one of the Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Anyone can join as an individual or corporate member which enables those who join access to exclusive resources, content, and events. Such events include a minimum of 12 masterclasses held each year for members. Meat Business Women also offer a few events that are open access to all (including non-members) as well as free resources.

MBW is currently running a global campaign called #SheLooksLikeMe which highlights female role models within the meat industry and encourages more women to join. 

For more information, visit the Meat Business Women website.

Shepherdess NZ Magazine

“B+LNZ is a sponsor of Shepherdess Magazine from its inception because we know how important rural storytelling is,” says Mr McIvor.

It is a print magazine that is written nā te wāhine, mo te whenua; from women, for the land. It is stocked across the country in fifty-seven Farmlands stores nationwide, New World and Pak’n’Save stores in the North Island, as well as Paper Plus and Whitcoulls stores nationwide, and independent bookstores, boutique cafes, and clothing and design stores.

You can also buy online or sign up for a subscription. Visit the Shepherdess website.

Dairy Women’s Network

Dairy Women’s Network is a non-profit organisation that offers a place for women in the dairy industry to thrive, regardless of their role. The aim to create events and initiatives for members to learn and grow their connections, knowledge, and skills within the farming industry.

They offer a range of resources, webinars, and events on their website to learn and connect with others in the industry. To become a member or find out more information, visit the Dairy Women's website.

Plant A Seed for Safety

B+LNZ is proud to support the #PlantASeedForSafety project in New Zealand.

This project targets rural women and aims to share positive stories about health, safety, and wellbeing in the rural community. The #PlantASeedForSafety project profiles women from all across different rural communities, including farm owners, shepherds, workers, wives and partners, nurses, doctors, teachers, contractors, and even local baristas.

Mark Harris, B+LNZ’s Lead Extension Manager North Island says, “Women are crucial business partners in today’s agriculture businesses so anything that helps increase their influence in getting better outcomes is worth supporting.”

The project was founded in Australia by Alex Thomas and has since spread to New Zealand to include stories from across the North and South Islands. To read about such stories and share your own, visit the Plant a Seed for website.