Extension 350 was launched earlier this year to help farmers share knowledge and gain access to specialist advice.
Farmer mentors and local farm consultants will support a series of target farms as they work towards improving their performance. Neighbouring farmers will also share their information and learn from the target farmer’s experience. The programme will involve farmers from the dairy and sheep and beef sectors.
Northland dairy farmer and former bank manager Luke Beehre was appointed as project leader for Extension 350 in November.
He was prompted to take on the role because of his combined passions for agriculture and Northland. Luke and his wife Lyna farm in Hukerenui, near Whangarei, and also run a dairy genetics business.
“The opportunity to contribute to the success of businesses and people in Northland was too good to pass up,” he says.
“We have some really motivated people and organisations who want to make this project work and ensure farmers are supported to reach their business and personal goals.”
Extension 350 is a collaboration between Ministry for Primary Industries, Northland Regional Council, DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb New Zealand and Northland Inc (Northland’s regional economic development agency). Project manager Luke Beehre says he’s excited about what the project will bring to the region.
“This project is about shifting individual farmers on a wide enough scale to benefit Northland as a whole. Over time this project aims to involve 350 farms directly, which will have a ripple effect throughout the Northland economy,” says Luke.
“We are starting off small with 15 target farms this year – 10 dairy and five sheep and beef – and plan to significantly add to this over time. We want to represent the diverse range of farming businesses in Northland.
“This is about farmer-to-farmer learning. The farmers are the ones who’ll drive the decisions and identify areas for opportunity.”
Expressions of interest are now being sought from agri-consultants in the area who would like to be involved in the project.
Target farmers are expected to be selected by February next year.
For more information on the project email firstname.lastname@example.org.