Sheep and beef farmers are being encouraged to set up or join Action Groups to put their ideas into action, make positive changes on farm and improve their productivity and profitability.
Developed with input from sheep and beef farmers and rural professionals as part of the Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP), the approach has been proven to support farmers to make changes in a range of areas such as farm systems and the environment.
B+LNZ has adopted the Action Group extension and adoption model to ensure all sheep and beef farmers have the opportunity to benefit from the success of this small group learning approach. The principles of the Action Network model have also been used to support farmers setting up Catchment Communities groups.
Each Action Group is eligible for kick-start funding of $2,000 to help pay for their facilitator, assist group set-up or their choice of expert input.
There are currently 186 active Action Groups in New Zealand. With an average of eight farm businesses per group, this means about 1,500 farm businesses are involved in this nationwide initiative that results in individual farm businesses working with others in their group to develop and implement a group plan.
“Action Groups enable farm businesses to work together with like-minded farmers to learn from experts and also from other farmers, focusing on the topics and expertise that are most relevant to their businesses,” says B+LNZ General Manager South Island John Ladley.
“The small group setting and facilitator support helps build trust and confidence, providing members with the opportunity to ask the questions they want to ask, gain learnings specific to their farm business and to put real change into practice to improve productivity and sustainability.
“Action Groups also enable farmers, rural professionals and the sector to adapt to changes in Government regulations, help farmers to better tell their stories and meet the changing views of consumers and the wider public.”
Farm businesses committed to an Action Group can expect:
- A professionally-facilitated, results-focused small group supporting their business through change.
- Support for group set-up with kick-start funding and external support.
- Help finding solutions to support the farm business in a changing world.
- Connection to trusted, independent expertise.
- Access to B+LNZ resources, tools, and expertise.
- To tap into the knowledge and experience of other farmers.
Farmers can connect with other farmers interested in forming an Action Group in various ways.
Several farmers may get together to form an Action Group, they may already be part of a discussion group which they can turn into an Action Group, or they may be approached by a rural professional who is pulling together a group.
Watch an example of how an Action Group is helping its members make positive change in their farm businesses.