Jon Pemberton On Championing Sustainable Farming + Resilience In Southland

Jon Pemberton On Championing Sustainable Farming + Resilience In Southland

AgProud NZ Chair Jon Pemberton is also a member of Thriving Southland, a community-led group with a vision to create a prosperous Southland by protecting Southland's prosperity, heritage, environment and health.

Pemberton, who has transitioned from his role at Thriving Southland to become an Environment Southland Councillor, shares his perspectives on various regional challenges and the importance of community-led initiatives. 

One of the key talking points is the extreme wet conditions that Southland dairy farmers are facing, juxtaposed with Canterbury's dry farmlands. Pemberton describes the current season as "wet underfoot," and despite the challenges, he notes the resilience and spirit of the local farming community. 

"I'm just pleased we've got business people that share the same values and making sure stock are fed," Pemberton says, acknowledging the collective effort to manage the season's difficulties. 

Pemberton also delves into his new role as an Environment Southland Councillor, addressing flood management and the significance of community involvement in protective measures. He emphasises the critical nature of public submissions in local council decisions, challenging the notion that such processes are mere formalities. 

"Feedback is crucial... I'm actually looking forward to the submission process," he explains, underlining his commitment to representing community interests. 

The conversation further explores the impact of Thriving Southland, an organisation dedicated to connecting catchment groups, driving water quality improvements, and enhancing ecological understanding. Pemberton speaks to the organisation's success in fostering collaboration and avoiding duplication of efforts, which is vital in light of potential legislative changes moving control away from the central government. 

The conversation touches on the camaraderie and industry unity celebrated during National Lamb Day, a testament to the region's agricultural pride. 

"It was phenomenal... It was probably one of the more successful things I've been involved with." 

He looks forward to building on the momentum, stressing the importance of preserving the event's inclusive spirit. 

"Nobody tried to claim it as their day, everyone realised the philosophy behind it and we just need to protect that and build on that." 

Throughout the conversation, Pemberton's passion for Southland's community and environment shines through, painting a picture of a region committed to sustainability and resilience despite facing considerable challenges.

Listen to the full chat between Jon Pemberton and Dominic George above.

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