Twenty-five NZ sheep and beef farmers will be present at the first Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) Environmental Leadership Forum in Wellington this week.
The forum, funded by B+LNZ and delivered by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust (NZFE), is based on a successful programme already run by the NZFE, but aimed at dairy farmers.
Chief executive officer for B+LNZ Dr Scott Champion said the forum had also been designed to equip beef and lamb farmers with more skills to enable them to engage effectively with regional councils on leadership roles within their communities.
Dr Champion said: “They will be a reasoned voice at a community level for the sheep and beef sector. With changes in the way fresh water is managed – to a more local focus and using a more collaborative process – it’s a timely investment in these farmers.”
Solving environmental challenges
The forum will be held over three days (16-18 April) and will feature guest speaker presentations and workshop sessions. Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet with politicians, government officials and environmental leaders.
“The focus is on developing participants’ leadership styles, with a particular emphasis on understanding people, their drivers and how to best communicate messages, so environmental challenges can be successfully solved,” said Dr Champion.
“This highlights the responsible approach to the environment that most sheep and beef farmers take. B+LNZ supports farmers by facilitating the development of individual operations’ land and environment plans, and through its sponsorship of the high profile Ballance Farm Environment Awards.”
He added that the winners of previous Balance Farm Environment awards were B+LNZ farmers and said most involved in the upcoming forum have been involved in the awards or are B+LNZ Council members.
He said: “All have demonstrated an interest in environmental issues. With increasing community participation in water and environmental discussions, sheep and beef farming leaders are needed across New Zealand – so they can actively participate in these processes to ensure the sector’s voice is heard.”