GLC National Coordinator Erica Callaghan says arable farmers have been quick to recognise the value of forming industry funded grower groups and that expressions of interest have been coming in from all around New Zealand.
“We are quite literally talking to growers from Northland to Bluff about opportunities to improve the financial and environmental outcomes of their businesses. They’re interested in forming groups looking at everything from soya beans to sowing methods and whiskey to winter grazing. That’s the beauty of GLC, it can address any topic that growers identify as relevant.
“The first three groups are focusing on grass weed management, soil quality and value add. These three areas…one agronomic, one environmental and one business are a solid representation of the range of issues and opportunities facing our industry.”
Ms Callaghan says the grass weeds group, which is based in South Canterbury, will meet for the first time later this week (Friday 5 March), and the others soon after that.
“By the end of their first meeting, each group will have confirmed a clear learning goal and drawn up a calendar of speakers and events for the coming year. As its name suggests, Growers Leading Change is very much driven by the growers; they decide on a group focus before approaching us, and once their group is confirmed, they determine exactly what and how they want to learn. Each group has a facilitator whose job is to ensure that happens!”
Ms Callaghan says further Arable Growth Group applications are currently being considered, but there is still room for new expressions of interest from any arable growers interested in forming a local or national Arable Growth Group.
“We’re particularly keen to hear from potential groups in the North Island and from Southland. Canterbury seems to have got the message, but we also have facilitators able to work with groups elsewhere in New Zealand. So, anyone growing and harvesting arable crops, including maize, is welcome to apply.
Growers Leading Change is a knowledge exchange programme which encourages arable farmers to consider, develop and introduce new ideas, technologies and ways of working. It is co-funded by FAR and the Ministry for Primary Industry’s Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures Fund (SFF Fund). Learn more