Free business workshops a boost for farming women

A free national development programme for women involved in sheep and beef farming will be held in Northland next month.

The Agri-Women’s Development Trust’s (AWDT) Understanding Your Farm Business course will start in Dargaville on June 6 and its sister course (adapted for women who are trustees, managers or partners in Maori sheep and beef farms) Wahine Maia Wahine Whenua, starts in Whangarei on June 7.

Each programme involves three full-day workshops spread over three months, plus an evening graduation ceremony, and it is fully funded by the Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP).

Participants learn how to measure farm performance and potential, how to add value as more engaged critical farming partners, business planning to improve farm performance, the drivers and language of farming business, and how to find and assess financial information.

AWDT executive director Lindy Nelson says the course not only boosts women’s knowledge, skills and confidence to contribute more effectively to their farming businesses, it helps their partners and businesses as a whole, too.

“We’re hearing from the men that the increased involvement of their partners in farm planning and decision making is reducing stress on them and opening up new conversations and perspectives,” she says.

“They are now sharing the workload and more able to bounce ideas off their partners who are playing a greater role.”

RMPP chairman Malcolm Bailey agrees that the courses benefit far more than just the participants.

“The Understanding Your Farm Business programmes aren’t just about up-skilling women in farming, they’re about building resilient farm partnerships so that the mental load of farming is shared,” he says.
“It’s a culture shift, but one we think the industry is ready for.”

Full details of the AWDT programmes and bookings can be made at