Helping future-proof hill country farms and farmers

Supporting the wellbeing of farmers is central to future-proofing their farm and rural communities.   

This project identified a need for resources that enable rural professionals to support individual farmers’ wellbeing. In response to this need, the Hill Country Futures team designed an evaluation tool for farm system resilience that focuses on the health and wellbeing of the farmers themselves. This tool is known as FarmSalus.

A resource package created to support farmer resilience

The name FarmSalus is inspired by the Roman goddess Salus of safety and wellbeing.

FarmSalus was produced using a co-design approach with farmers and other stakeholders and has been designed to meet farmer needs. The wellbeing focus of FarmSalus makes it unique; it fills a gap in evaluation tools that are used in hill country farming.  FarmSalus supports a whole farm system approach to resilience and wellbeing and prompts farmers to have discussions about their own specific farming context.

The FarmSalus tools and resources emphasise four pillars of a resilient farm system.  These are:

  • Healthy farmer
  • Healthy farm business
  • Healthy environment
  • Healthy connections to support networks

These four pillars were identified by New Zealand hill country farmers to be the foundations of a resilient farm system.  Rural professionals can work through the FarmSalus assessment with a farmer to support them with their decision making. FarmSalus encourages farmers to make healthy decisions for their farm management and farm business that align with their own needs and values.

FarmSalus guides conversations with farmers about issues important to them and their farming resilience

Collaboration with other organisations, such as  Agri-Women’s Development Trust, The Rural Support Trust, Ministry for Primary Industries and FarmStrong puts FarmSalus in a strong position to be more widely adopted to help support our farmers and their communities.

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A big thank you to Katherine Dixon (Nature Positive) and Ange McFetridge (B+LNZ) for taking the lead on this project for New Zealand’s sheep and beef farming community. Special thanks to the farmers who actively supported this work. We give special thanks to the Agri-Womens Development Trust (AWDT), B+LNZ extension team, LandPro and Rural Support NZ who contributed their time to support the development of FarmSalus. 


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