Collaboration key to sustainable future
Nuffield scholar says collaboration key to New Zealand’s sustainable future
Nuffield scholar Rebecca Hyde is aiming to simplify sustainability for Kiwi farmers and find ways to promote greater industry collaboration to benefit agriculture.
As one of six 2017 scholars Rebecca will attend a global workshop with scholars from around the world, observing the latest international agricultural developments across seven countries and have the opportunity to conduct her own research. In this she wants to identify how collaboration within the agricultural industry can be improved to achieve better environmental outcomes for everyone.
“Agriculture runs in my veins and I want to make sure the industry is as sustainable as it can be,” says Rebecca.
“There is a huge amount of investment going into improving environmental outcomes right across New Zealand’s primary industries and cross-sector collaborative efforts will be a vital part of this. My aim is to shed some light on what good collaboration is, and the outcomes it delivers at a national, industry and on-farm level.
“The end goal is to achieve desired environmental outcomes that help to grow our markets and get high value for our products. It means greater value for our economy, our industry and our farmers.”
Having worked on her family’s sheep and beef farm, Rebecca knows first-hand how stressful it can be for farmers to balance sustainability legislation requirements on top of a busy workload. She uses that insight on a daily basis, as South Island team leader for Ballance Agri-Nutrients’ farm sustainability services team to help farmers solve questions surrounding resource use and how best to comply with environmental regulations.
She says that the key is to relate the requirements to each particular farm system, gathering the right data and showing farmers where the best sustainability gains can be made.
“I haven’t come across one farmer that doesn’t want clean water and a sustainable farming business.”
“There are plenty of farmers out there already demonstrating some great environmental practices on farm. For other farmers, regardless of what sector they’re in, it’s about helping them to see their farm through a different lens to understand the environmental impacts.’’
As a certified nutrient management advisor and certified farm environment plan auditor Rebecca helps farmers and industry to make better on farm decisions that have a positive impact on the environment while remaining financially viable. This skill set has seen her involved in numerous regional industry working groups, helping farmers to understand how regional plans affect them.
“This role relies on having good communication and relationship building skills,” says Rebecca. “You’re not only working with farmers from every sector but also regional councils and other industry organisations to find the best sustainability outcomes.”
She notes that the industry is full of passionate individuals who believe in the benefits of sustainable outcomes and want to see our products thrive on the global stage.
“To successfully work together it’s about having a shared understanding of why we are aiming towards these environmental goals and the benefits we want to see for all New Zealanders.”