Future-proofing the hill country

Future-proofing the hill country

Hill country farming is vital to New Zealand's economy and regional communities

Our hill country farmers face a wide range of challenges — the direct and indirect impacts of climate change, evolving societal expectations, new environmental regulations, and changes in land use.

To help our farmers increase their resilience to these challenges and future-proof the hill country, we need to understand what is important to them.


Between July 2019 and March 2020, we listened and talked to almost 300 people in the industry, over half of which were hill country farmers.

We wanted to know what is happening in hill country farming, what matters most to them and what their vision is for the future. 

We also wanted to know how to support our farmers and rural communities to achieve and maintain a resilient future. To do this, we needed to identify and understand the drivers, challenges and opportunities they face.

What matters the most to New Zealand sheep and beef farmers?

After we evaluated and analysed all the conversations had over cups of tea, we identified the key issues for our farmers: 

  • Barriers and opportunities for on-farm environmental action
  • Economic diversification and resilience
  • The next generation of farmers: succession
  • Perspectives on regenerative agriculture
  • The Future of Hill Country Farming: a vision 2030?

This work became known as the Farmer Perspective Series.  


Ultimately, people are at the centre of farmers’ visions for the future of sheep and beef farming in hill country.

Keen to know more?

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.


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