We are all stronger together

Staying strong onfarm portrays an innovative programme run by Reporoa dairy farmer and cancer survivor Sarah Martelli, who helps other women find their balance and build strength and wellbeing to be the best they can be.

Farmlife Headshots.

Strong Woman is an online community for women to work on their fitness with a workout to do at home, find quick and easy healthy recipes, goal planners and to connect with other women on the same journey.

Her philosophy is to help women create healthy, sustainable habits around moving and feeding their bodies and their families.

If women can prioritise their own health and fitness, they can inspire their partners, their children and their community around them, Sarah says (p82).

She is an inspirational woman creating a moment of lift for many women.

In this issue we take a look at the regenerative agri journey some NZ farmers are already on, and that the government has signalled they want others to join in on, in our Special Report.

The regen debate has divided the farming community in a big way – many scientists are affronted that NZ would need regenerative methods from overseas countries with highly degraded soils – would that then infer that our conventional methods were degenerative?

They say the methods won’t work, and that research has already shown that, and also our farmers are already following regenerative practices. Others say that the methods are not prescribed and each farmer can take out of it what they want. It has been called a social movement rather than a science and the claimed benefits of improved soil and stock health and building soil carbon through diverse species, use of biological fertilisers and laxer and less frequent grazing practices along with less nitrogen is something that resounds emotionally with many.

We have taken a snapshot of thinking by scientists in MPI and DairyNZ (p46) and portrayed what farmers using the practices are finding, including ongoing coverage of the comparative trial work by Align Group in Canterbury (p42). We also cover the Heald family of Norsewood (p52) who have transitioned to organics, OAD and regen philosophies and are enjoying the less intensive and more resilient system they have moved to, along with improved profitability.

There is more research to be done in the NZ farm system context, says MPI’s chief scientist John Roche, to figure out what will and won’t work, but he encourages farmers to engage and learn more, and to embrace regenerative as a verb – saying all farmers could work to be more regenerative, more resilient, lowering carbon loss and building carbon storage.

If you are interested in getting into farm ownership or getting out but retaining an interest, read about George Moss’ innovative idea for a speed-dating weekend for potential partners (p11). We think it could be a winner!