While attending a seminar last year on equity partnerships and farm succession, Seamus met Richmond Beetham who was making a significant positive contribution to the rural sector of the East Coast. As a result, we were more than happy to highlight his efforts in our rural newsletter. Richmond Beetham was recently appointed as one of two Extension Managers for Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ), covering the Wairarapa and Southern Hawke’s Bay region. Richmond started with B+LNZ (formerly M&WNZ) in 2005 and for 5 years his role involved a full physical and financial analysis of 50 sheep & beef farms from Norsewood to South Wairarapa each year for the economic service. Richmond speaks below about the change in focus of B+LNZ.
B+LNZ has introduced a more regional focus to its activities and this is good news for farmers. It means they will have more opportunity to influence and guide extension activities specific to their region. His role, as Extension Manager, is to facilitate those actions and develop programmes that will roll the information out to as many farm businesses as possible.
B+LNZ funds and has access to a lot of research and information. The challenge is to identify the information relevant to the region and package it in such a way that it’s easy for farmers to take up new ideas and ultimately improve their farm’s performance.
What local activities have your B+LNZ levies funded in recent months? 130 farmers attended the “Growing Great Lambs” Focus Day in Pirinoa on 2 November.
Approval has been given to a $10,000 FITT (Farmer-Initiated Technology Transfer) project evaluating the soil amendment product, TM21. The Alfredton farmers behind the application have experienced impressive anecdotal results, but want to gain a greater understanding of how it works, the cost/benefits involved and how sustainable the product’s effects are.
B+LNZ joined with Vet Services Hawke’s Bay and Dannevirke to hold a series of woolshed meetings to discuss the new sheep anthelmintic products, Startect and Zolvix. The meetings covered existing products and how to best use the new drenches to prolong the life of existing drench families.
Currently Richmond is working with several discussion groups, providing support and facilitating funding for specialist speakers, one-off on-farm trials, workshops and other activity. A new B+LNZ Farmer Focus group looking at addressing topical on farm issues will be funded in the Wanstead, Wallingford , Porangahau area. Three new B+LNZ Monitor Farm programmes will be funded in Wairarapa, Taurarua and Hawke’s Bay in 2011. Recently, East Coast farmers have enjoyed success through B+LNZs investment in their People Programme:
Masterton’s Paul McGill was awarded a 2010 Nuffield Scholarship, worth $35,000.00. Paul manages a mixed cropping and lamb finishing operation at Mayfield. B+LNZ contributes $40,000 towards the annual Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme, which several East Coast farmers have now participated in.
B+LNZ funds $10,000 for the leadership module of the Escalator Programme, which has been developed by the Agri-Womens Development Trust. B+LNZ funds two scholarship each year at Taratahi Training farm worth $4000. University undergraduate scholarships, worth $4500 each, were won by Sarah Crofoot (Castlepoint Station, Wairarapa) and Jessica Morrisson (Wairarapa), who are both attending Massey, while Brit Paton (Martinborough) is using her scholarship to attend Lincoln.
I’m very excited about my new role, The new B+LNZ regional structure gives farmers a great opportunity to feed their ideas for extension events, R&D or issues they want covered by their levies to their local extension Manager. The communication needs to be both ways as there are only two Extension managers on the east coast so we cant get up all the driveways , we need farmers to ring us up and give their feedback in terms of B+LNZ activities they want in their patch.
Farmers who have ideas for extension events, R&D topics or issues needing attention, should contact Richmond Beetham on 027431 7626.