Friday, 25 August 2017

Pledging to enable smarter farming for a better New Zealand


This week Ravensdown stood with leaders from across the rural sector to pledge to help make our rivers swimmable for future generations. The group collectively represents 80 per cent of New Zealand’s farm land.

As well as being one of the farmers supporting the water pledge, I am also the chair of Ravensdown – an organisation whose purpose is strongly aligned with this pledge.

I grew up, and now farm, beside the Rangitikei River. I’m committed to seeing this pledge to fruition.

Those who are not familiar with Ravensdown may have thought it odd that a fertiliser company was represented in the group making the pledge. But the truth is, it couldn’t be more appropriate.

We provide the nutrients that nourish New Zealand’s soil which, in turn, feed the plants and animals that deliver the products that can command a premium on the world stage.

But our co-operative does far more than import and manufacture key nutrients for the pastoral farming sector. We have the fastest growing environmental consultancy business in New Zealand and, across the whole team, employ the largest number of Certified Nutrient Management Advisors in the country. It’s not the size of our consultancy that we pride ourselves on though, it’s the quality of advice and our sense of common purpose; to enable smarter farming for a better New Zealand.

We believe that New Zealand needs smarter farming for the sake of its environment, prosperity and for communities.

As farming faces disruptive trends that will have a bearing on the value it contributes to New Zealand, Ravensdown is evolving so that the children of today and tomorrow benefit from our efforts. It’s about long-term thinking and stewardship; building something lasting, something that collectively we can be proud of.

The Water Pledge is a great example of this kind of thinking and Ravensdown has an important role to play in making this vision a reality.

Ravensdown was formed 40 years ago by farmers who wanted robust science, quality products and advice to ensure they were working smarter and more efficiently.

The shareholders of today are looking for “smarts” that centre around trusted science, strong relationships and a concern for the environment.  They need us to invest in advanced technology and that’s what we are doing with our precision aerial spreading, robotic pasture measurement and software that identifies potential sources of phosphate loss.

The pledge to make and keep New Zealand rivers swimmable requires a long-term commitment and is a multi-faceted challenge. But with collaboration, science, technology and the will to do so, we will be able to achieve this goal.