Workshop featured S. African instructor

Collaborating with other Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP) Action Groups enabled a group of Otago farmers to bring a world-renowned holistic management instructor from South Africa to run a two-day workshop.

Each RMPP Action Group was made up of seven to nine farm businesses and each received a $4000 kick-start funding.

That was pooled for the group to pay for facilitation and subject matter experts on their topics of choice.

The group, which was led by NZ Landcare Trust Otago regional co-ordinator Craig Simpson, was investigating healthy restorative farming systems, now and into the future, with a particular focus on building carbon in their farm soil.

"It's a very interesting group. There are nine farm businesses in the group and eight are dairy farmers. They weren't sure at first if they would fit the criteria - but they all supply cows to processors.

"I do quite a bit of co-ordination and facilitation in my NZ Landcare Trust work, so I did the RMPP facilitator training, which was very good.

"Neil Thomson, one of the farmers, was looking to get this group together. He already had most of the members and I helped him get it off the ground.

"Farming is facing big environmental issues and this group's members all want to know how they can improve performance on their farms and trigger the soil biologically to reduce loss of nutrients - and one way to do that is through building soil carbon,'' Mr Simpson said.

The group was launched in October last year and has held six meetings to date, with various speakers.

That included bringing Ian Mitchell-Innes, from South Africa, who has worked with beef, sheep, dairy and deer farmers internationally to boost profitability on their pastoral farms.

"We did a two-day workshop with him and it was excellent, with a big focus on grazing strategies.

"The people in my group really want to learn and to do something different. The workshop with Ian encouraged them to begin trying new approaches, like undertaking small paddock trials with multi-species crops or higher residuals,'' Mr Simpson said.

Agro-ecologist and soils coach Nicole Masters, director of Integrity Soils, also provided a session for the group about building on their knowledge of soil health, and fertiliser use.

Soil scientist and agricultural scientist Graham Shepherd delivered a workshop focusing specifically on building soil carbon.

Mr Thomson said the group was ``really just getting started'' and members would reap many more benefits from it.


Add a Comment

Sponsored Content