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High Country innovative leaders

19 March 2014

High Country innovative leaders

Federated Farmers High Country farmers are keen to work with Environment Canterbury in making the industry sustainable, so that they can continue improving the land, and keeping the iconic landscape pest free.

“Federated Farmers High Country Field Day yesterday saw 140 industry stakeholders and supporters make a pilgrimage through five of the country’s iconic stations, now a far cry from the barren, rabbit filled desert they once were,” says Simon Williamson, Federated Farmers North Otago High Country Spokesperson.

“There has been an enormous amount of work done to transform some of this barren land into productive pastures. A fundamental part of this transformation has been irrigation, which has allowed this land to generate enough income to support 23 families over eight farms, as opposed to just seven families on six farms nine years ago.

“It was great to have Environment Canterbury Commissioner’s Dame Margaret Bazley and Tom Lambie, as well as the Waitaki and Mackenzie Mayors and their respectivecouncillors, all along to show what great work is being done here and to learn how we can collaborate going forward.

“We were particularly pleased by Dame Margaret’s comments that, ‘She was blown away by what we are achieving here – to the level of the top businesses in this country – and recognising the huge input we are having in the fortunate living standards New Zealanders have’.

“It was a shame Forest & Bird did not accept our invitation for as Federated Farmers Vice-President, Dr William Rolleston, said, “The conversation starts here on the ground, in this paddock where we can find some common ground”.

“High Country farmers achieved a lot yesterday towards this as the Department of Conservation was well represented by Barry Hanson, Andy Roberts and several other staff members, who are being very proactive in their approach with the High Country.

“Moving forward we have the opportunity to have some input around the structure of Environment Canterbury and how we work with them. I would encourage you to engage in this process, because this is our livelihood that will be affected.

“The big thing that we can take away from yesterday is that we are incredible innovators and we are achieving great things. New Zealand’s High Country farmers are made of strong stuff and it has by no means been an easy road, but it just proves how resilient we truly are,” concluded Mr Williamson.

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