Community Engagement: The programme actively involved more than 300 community members, primarily in the sheep and beef farming sector. These interactions led to the creation of resources like the Farmer Perspective series and FarmSalus, a farmer-centric resource package aimed at facilitating better conversations between rural professionals and farmers.
Sharing Farmer Stories: The programme collected stories from farmers across New Zealand, showcasing positive social and environmental outcomes in the farming community.
Mātauranga Knowledge: Through face-to-face interactions and interviews in the Wairoa District, the programme gained insights into the traditional knowledge (mātauranga) of native shrubs.
On-Farm Data Collection: Farmers generously opened up their farms as study sites, enabling the collection of valuable forage and soil property data. This data contributed to the development of models related to lucerne management for resilient hill country farms. Also, the development of resources (e.g. AgYields, TGM online calculator) to help farmers make decisions about pastures and crops to suit their farm systems.
AgYields Database: The creation of AgYields, a national open source database and repository for pasture and crop yield data, and growth rate information collected in New Zealand.
Educational Resources and tools: The programme produced various educational resources, including the Soil and Fertiliser factsheet series, the Molybdenum in pastures factsheet series and the Lucerne at Willesden video series.
Supporting Future Researchers: The programme supported more than 10 postgraduate students from Lincoln and Massey Universities, nurturing the next generation of researchers in New Zealand.
Positive Economic Impact: A comprehensive modelling framework suggests that the programmes benefits are expected to far outweigh its costs. For example, assuming each of the HCF resources have a 30% chance of successful uptake and are moderately promoted, then the expected benefit-to-investment ratio is 12:1. The modelling showed that profitability gains would account for 53% of the value created from the resources, followed by improvement in farmers’ physical and mental health (18%), the health of their land (13%) and their resilience to adverse weather (9%).
Hill Country Futures Partnership programme actively engaged with farmers and communities, developed valuable resources, supported future researchers, and is expected to have a substantial positive impact on New Zealand's hill country farming sector.