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Adding Value To The Business of Cropping

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!"