The programme has a strong emphasis on forages and providing decision-making tools to help farmers select the best forage option for different land management units – i.e. to answer the question “what plant, where and why?”
Ultimately, choosing the optimal forage improves animal productivity, animal welfare (e.g. shelter), biodiversity and soil health, whilst also mitigating soil erosion and climate change.
Within rural communities
Over the programme’s five-year duration, there is significant, targeted community engagement and a focus on individual and community well being.
Long term, the programme aims to support and strengthen communities, through improved farm profitability and financial diversification.
Underpinning New Zealand’s red meat story
From a marketing perspective, evidence of good farming practice aligned to international customers’ expectations of kaitiakitanga or environmental guardianship supports the Taste Pure Nature campaign.
Taste Pure Nature is a global brand created by Beef + Lamb New Zealand to enhance the positioning of New Zealand red meat products and increase the price consumers are prepared to pay for our premium product.
A significant part of Hill Country Futures’ research involves gathering trusted and authentic farming stories to underpin Taste Pure Nature.
Farmer and stakeholder engagement
Individual and focus group interviews are being conducted with representatives from hill country farms, catchment and community groups, Maori agribusiness, farm business managers, policy makers, rural service providers and NGOs.
These interviews aim to uncover issues facing hill country farmers and the factors influencing on-farm decision-making.