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Rural Women New Zealand National Conference


For immediate release

23 May 2006

Former Prime Minister Jenny Shipley challenged delegates as she opened the 71st Rural Women New Zealand National Conference,being held in Ashburton this week.

Just as she had recognised the right moment to step aside in politics, long-standing members of organisations such as RWNZ needed to recognise the time to move aside and make room for others to step up, she said.

In this way the well-respected organisation would thrive and rebuild its membership to the levels of former times when it was known as the Women's Division of Federated Farmers.

The theme of this year's conference is "Building the Dream". That dream is to adapt to the needs of younger rural women of today, many of whom work off the farm, live on lifestyle blocks, or play a more hands-on role in farm management than in the past.

Last year, Women in Farming groups, originally set up by the Sustainable Farming Fund, came under the umbrella of RWNZ. These cater for active women farmers and are showing good growth in membership.

Yesterday Women in Farming members from all over the country enjoyed a conference tour to Winchmore's AgResearch station near Ashburton where they heard about long-term irrigation trials and ways of managing drench resistance.

They also viewed a sheep selective breeding project which has focused on easy-care sheep. The sheep have been bred with short tails and little belly or rear-end wool, so need no docking and have a reduced need for crutching, dagging and chemical protection.

The RWNZ National Conference runs until Thursday 24 may, and includes a range of tours, speakers, and a "night at the races" themed dinner at Ashburton racecourse.


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