More business courses for rural women planned

Business development programmes for women involved in sheep and beef farming are expanding to new locations next year.

The Agri-Women's Development Trust runs the programmes with funding from the Red Meat Profit Partnership with the aim of lifting the sector's performance and profitability.

Oamaru and Fairlie will be the first of 32 rural centres to host the programmes in early February.

They comprise ''Understanding Your Farm Business'', which has had 780 graduates since it began in 2014, and ''Wahine Maia Wahine Whenua'' for women who are trustees, managers or partners in Maori sheep and beef farming businesses.

More than 200 inquiries were received for the 2018 programmes before registrations opened last week.

Trust executive director Lindy Nelson said there was a thirst from farming couples and individuals to sharpen their financial skills and work more closely with family and advisers towards future growth.

''Research with our graduates consistently shows that when women gain confidence and skills to contribute more effectively, positive changes are seen across the farming business.''

''We're hearing from the men that the increased involvement of their partners in farm planning and decision-making is reducing stress on them and opening up new conversations and perspectives.

''Farmers are taking time together to question why they make certain decisions, look at how they can do better and who can help them. They are looking harder at their goals and plans, and communicating more effectively with bank managers and other advisers.''

Programme dates and locations can be found online at www.awdt.org.nz/programmes/

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