Farmers Beef Up Leadership Skills At Environmental Forum


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The first Beef + Lamb New Zealand Environmental Leadership Forum has been hailed as an outstanding success.

Twenty five sheep and beef farming leaders attended the B+LNZ -funded event, held in Wellington from April 16 to April 18.

The forum was facilitated by the New Zealand Farm Environment (NZFE) Trust, which has run a similar annual event for dairy farmers and also delivers the Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Participants included past-winners of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards and B+LNZ Farmer Council members.

Simon Saunders, deputy chair of the NZFE Trust, says the forum was designed to equip farmers with the skills needed to become effective ambassadors for the sheep and beef industry.

“These farmers have already achieved a huge amount in terms of environmental leadership. So a key aim of the forum was to refresh their skills and give them the tools to work successfully with a range of community stakeholders to address environmental issues.”

The forum featured an excellent line-up of speakers, and participants were able to network with politicians, government officials and other environmental leaders.

“I think the farmers who participated were genuinely surprised by the range and calibre of the speakers and presenters involved. I’m sure all the participants went home with a much deeper understanding of the challenges our sector faces and they will be better equipped to deal with these issues.”

Ben O’Brien, Beef + Lamb New Zealand General Manager Market Access, said the forum provided B+LNZ with the opportunity to engage with leading farmers who have demonstrated a commitment to the environment.

“We were able to update them on activities we have undertaken to help the sector and individual sheep and beef farmers meet their environmental responsibilities while ensuring that the sector as a whole is represented in discussions with Government on environmental policy.

“We were very happy with the commitment we received from participants and we will be keeping in touch with them and providing further support and information to assist them in continuing their leadership roles within their communities.”

Simon Saunders says another highlight of the forum was the visit to Parliament, which provided forum participants with a valuable insight into “how Wellington works”.

“Building environmental leadership is a key part of NZFE Trust’s strategy, so it was great to be able to work with B+LNZ to put this forum together, he says.

“From the Trust’s point of view it’s been an outstanding success and we are very grateful to B+LNZ for their generous support.

For more information contact Simon Saunders, deputy chair, NZFE Trust, phone 03 248 7246 or email or David Natzke, General Manager, New Zealand Farm Environment Trust, phone 07 834 0400, email or visit

For more information on the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, contact David Natzke, General Manager, New Zealand Farm Environment Trust, phone 07 834 0400, .

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