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Adding Value To The Business of Cropping

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Women in Arable

Women in Arable (formerly known as Active in Arable) was formed in 2001 when a cluster of Canterbury women promoted a business orientated discussion group for rurally based women involved in arable farming. It continues to receive the exceptional support of arable women in the Canterbury region.

Women in Arable consists of more than 70 members with an average of 25 members attending each monthly meeting. Historically these meetings have taken place in Ashburton, a central location for most members.

Anna Heslop of FAR is the group's facilitator. FAR provides an array of presentation opportunities from high profile and well respected industry representatives, which in turn have allowed the women to become more involved in the day-to-day running of their businesses.


  • The group gets together nine times per year, from March through to November. This allows for a break over the holiday and harvest seasons when many members have other commitments.
  • The members are extremely motivated and committed to learning more about their industry. A meeting is held at the start of each year to summarise the key learning points from the previous year and to brain-storm new ideas for the year ahead.
  • Objectives for the 2015 season are to re-look at some of those topics already covered which the group identified as being the most beneficial, and to also look at new areas such as: Health and safety legislation, social media and herbicide resistance. Field trips and farm visit are also on the proposed list.

Case Studies

Here's what a couple of the members say...

Olwyn Lochhead is a dedicated group member, she says, "I thoroughly enjoy attending the meetings; they not only provide a great opportunity for me to network with other arable women, but also enable me to develop a clearer understanding of those slightly more technical issues associated with arable farming."

Tash Williamson is one of the group's newer members. She says, "I have been involved with cropping farms since leaving school and have had the opportunity to work as Trainee Farm Manager at our family farm in Ashburton. Over time there has been an excellent line up of speakers whom I have learnt a great deal from; in particular those top cropping farmers who have given up their time to come along and talk to the group. I've also found that the nature of the group has given me the confidence to be up-front when asking questions which can be difficult when surrounded by men!"

Arable Ys

Are you generation Y (35ish or under)? Are you involved in arable farming? Are you interested in up-skilling in all areas of arable farming business?

If you answered yes to these questions, then FAR may have just what you're looking for… Arable Ys is a FAR initiative aimed at building confidence in, and creating opportunities for, the next generation of arable farmers. Organiser, Richard Chynoweth says Arable Ys fills an identified gap in the arable industry knowledge chain.

“We found that the huge majority, over ninety percent in fact, of growers attending FAR field days and events were over the age of 35. There was nothing available for younger farmers and staff, so we formed Arable Ys. Arable Ys meets monthly and the meetings are tailored to the needs and knowledge gaps of this younger and less experienced group of growers."

Meetings are generally held on the third Wednesday evening of the month in the Ashburton Hotel, however daytime on-farm meetings are also included in the schedule and have proved very popular. Evening topics might cover issues such as weed and pest control, water and nutrient management, and fungicide strategies, while on farm sessions look at crop choices, rotations and systems.

In 2016 FAR co-ordinated an Arable Ys trip where a group of young growers visited farms and agribusinesses around the South Island. In 2015, the trip visited young growers and research organisations on the east and west coasts of the USA. This trip followed a similar study tour to the UK and Europe in 2013 when a group visited Cereals, the UK's premium cropping field days, as well as farms, agrichemical companies, machinery manufacturers and seed companies in Frances, Belgium, Germany and Denmark.

All in all Arable Ys provides an excellent opportunity for younger arable farmers, staff and industry personnel to up-skill in a comfortable environment whilst also having the opportunity to socialise with their industry counterparts. There is no joining fee and you can come to as many or as few events as you like. We send out invitations to all levy payers each month, so keep an eye out or contact FAR on 03 345 5783.

Find our more about upcoming events by following Arable Ys on Facebook.

Arable Kids

We know that many of you enjoy entering the competitions in our From the Ground Up magazine. On this page we have placed some activity sheets from previous newsletters, as well as links to other parts of this website, and other sites which contain useful information for school projects.

For children:

For High School students:

For people of all ages: