The wellbeing of hill country farmers is at the heart of a new tool developed by the Hill Country Futures Partnership programme.
FarmSalus is a tool to help understand and monitor the human component of farming.
It has been designed for rural professionals and farmer group facilitators to support their conversations with farmers about farmer wellbeing and how this impacts the resilience of their farm business and environment.
FarmSalus fills a gap in the existing toolkit that is available to rural professional and facilitators. While there are a lot of tools and surveys to measure economic or environmental success, there is little around to monitor the health and wellbeing of the farmers themselves.
FarmSalus considers all aspects of the farm system and how these impact on farmer health. The tool consists of a short survey, which takes about 30 minutes to complete. It is accompanied by training resources for the facilitators.
FarmSalus was designed to assist meaningful discussion between farmers and their advisors, rather than be a detailed tick-box list.
The process of completing the FarmSalus survey enables farmers to identify their own personal values and assess if their farming practices and lifestyle are meeting these.
From this, farmers can identify which areas of their farming system are impacting the most on their own personal wellbeing and sense of resilience.
The FarmSalus was developed in response to a need identified by hill country farmers and was co-designed by the Hill Country Futures team and farmers, external industry groups, individuals and agricultural consultants.
The Hill Country Futures social research team (Nature Positive and B+LNZ) carried out 170 face-to-face interviews with almost 300 farmers, rural professionals, academics and industry leaders throughout New Zealand.
The $8.1m Hill Country Futures programme is co-funded by Beef + Lamb New Zealand, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, PGG Wrightson Seeds and Seed Force New Zealand. It is focused on future proofing the profitability, sustainability and wellbeing of New Zealand’s hill country farmers, their farm systems, the environment and rural communities.
For more information on FarmSalus and other resources produced through the programme, please visit: www.hillcountryfutures.co.nz.