“We even had someone the other day who tuned in while he was working in the milking shed,” said Sharon Morrell, DairyNZ acting GM farm performance. “The farmer put his phone on silent for most of it and was able to take part as if he’d been at a meeting in person.”
The online discussion groups are an important way for farmers to provide support and ideas to each other, replacing the face-to-face discussions. They are one way DairyNZ is adapting how it provides support to farmers during COVID-19.
“It’s very important we ensure our farm teams, families and supporting services are safe and implementing the right measures to protect themselves while continuing their work on farm as essential businesses,” says Sharon. “But we’re also keen to ensure our farmers are able to catch-up to talk about their activities and current priorities.”
The new online discussion groups are proving popular with farmers and have many benefits, including the opportunity to chat about current farm activities, how they’re meeting COVID-19 responsibilities and setting up for next season.
“It means farmers can take part but stay well within their own ‘bubble’.”
DairyNZ is hosting the online discussion groups for farmers across New Zealand in the various regions, including Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Lower North Island, West Coast, Canterbury/North Otago and Southland/South Otago.
Most sessions run for 60 to 90 minutes and people can attend for as long as they like. Farmers say the technology is easy to use – just click on the link to join a virtual ‘room’ where everyone enjoys the opportunity to hear from each other. The link is emailed and texted to existing discussion group members. To join their local discussion group, farmers should go to www.dairynz.co.nz/events, click on a discussion group in their area and send a message asking to join. They can also ask their local CO to add them to the group.
Presenters are also invited to talk about hot topics and include specialists from DairyNZ, other organisations and businesses.
“It’s a fantastic way for farmers to engage with others, to ask their questions and to share challenges, insights and advice. We strongly encourage farmers to get involved,” says Sharon.
To see the events, go to dairynz.co.nz/events
027 211 2159