Trans-Tasman teaching: Lessons from Australia to adapt to farming in NZ

Trans-Tasman teaching: Lessons from Australia to adapt to farming in NZ

Farming can be tough - with natural disasters, shifting regulations, and macroeconomic challenges all posing considerable obstacles. But according to Julia Jones, an esteemed speaker at the National Farmers Federation in Australia, community-based approaches could be the key to navigating these challenges and creating substantial change. 

Having recently returned from the Australia National Farmers Federation Annual Conference, International Keynote speaker Julia Jones told REX host Dominic George that she learned a lot from her time at the National Farmers Federation conference

“Sometimes we get new information and so if we change our mind, let's not beat someone up, because what happens is we get punished," she said. 

“One of the things that they try and do is 'giving their government a back door to slip out of', so when they make a decision, help them save face if they need to change it, for some of the regulations and I thought that was actually quite strategic and smart."

One of the main talking points was the importance of a community-based approach to policy setting. Jones emphasised the power of a community-up perspective, as every region has its own unique landscape and set of challenges. 

“The power in that is your region, is your perspective.

"When you have communities and you have people working from the community up, they understand their landscape and the nuance."

She gave the example of biodiversity regulation across the West Coast being modelled off Canterbury despite Canterbury and the wider West Coast having vastly different environments and the issues this can cause.

"This isn't about protesting against the regulation. It's actually about working with policymakers so they understand what they're looking at."

Jones also highlighted the extreme challenges that Australian farmers face, from devastating natural disasters to sudden regulatory shifts. 

“Look, this is going to sound harsh, but it probably made me feel a little less empathetic with some of the New Zealand farming farmers complaining about regulations when I looked at their regulations,” she admitted. 

“Some of those regulations will literally stop you from farming tomorrow.” 

The conversation ended on an inspiring note, with Jones encouraging farmers to remain resilient, focus on their passion, and make informed decisions about their career path. 

“We will get through it. And it's going to be tough, but we'll get through the other side and we're going to be fine because we are always fine. We do always get through this,” Jones reassured. 

While the challenges are numerous and daunting, Julia Jones' insights suggest that by harnessing the power of community and maintaining a forward-looking perspective, both Australian and New Zealand farmers can weather the storm and come out stronger. 

And as Julia Jones has aptly put it, harnessing the power of community could be the secret ingredient in turning these challenges into opportunities for growth and transformation.

Listen to the full chat between Julia Jones and Dominic George above.

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