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Processors and farmers: Working together to improve outcomes

Westbrooke, Victoria
Greer, Glen
Conference Contribution - published
Fields of Research
ANZSRC::0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management , ANZSRC::070107 Farming Systems Research
The productivity of New Zealand’s sheep and beef farmers has increased over the past decade. However, on-farm productivity needs to lift further for New Zealand’s red meat to continue to be competitive in world markets. The Extension Design Project investigated how farmers and processing companies could work together to lift on-farm outcome, by identifying issues and providing support for on-farm practice change. This analysis draws on farmer survey data, semi-structured interviews with coordinators and rural professionals and project documentation. By the end of the second year 75 farmers were participating with the majority (87%) reporting on farm practice change as a result of the interventions. Critical success factors were threefold. First, farmers’ input in identifying issues to address and developing management strategies. Second, processing company coordinators through their interaction with farmers and creation of an open atmosphere in their peer-working group. Third, access to high quality experts; project funded equipment and expertise and the ability to examine issues in a supportive group environment. The coordinators were a vital link between the farmers and processor, but faced a challenge in that they were juggling the project role with their existing job, they also required support due to their lack of extension experience.