12 Apr 2024

Research showcased at food, farming and freshwater roadshow

From Country Life, 7:38 pm on 12 April 2024
Food Farming and Freshwater Roadshow

A good crowd turned up In Renwick to hear researchers discuss their Our Land and Water National Science Challenge projects Photo: CosmoKentish-Barnes

Farmers and growers around the country have been getting together to hear about research which might help New Zealand agriculture adapt to future challenges.

"I'm here to just listen and learn," said Awatere Valley sheep and beef farmer, Warwick Lissaman, who was at the event in Renwick.

"We've got so many things that we can do. It's about putting things in the right order to make the most impact and that's why the science that's been done is invaluable to us," he said.

The roadshow presents research commissioned by the Our Land and Water National Science Challenge. It was launched a decade ago by the then-National government. 

Dozens of research projects around managing land use and water quality have been undertaken to enhance the productivity of the primary sector.

Mark Woods, a rural engagement advisor for Our Land and Water, is managing the roadshow that's been to heartland towns like Balclutha, Alexandra, Tokora, Taumarunui and Taihape.

"It's one thing to produce really good research and science, but we need to make sure that people in rural communities hear about it directly from the researchers, and get the opportunity to ask them questions," he said.

Food Farming and Freshwater Roadshow

Lincoln University economist John Saunders presents his research project, Crop Disease Under Climate Change Photo: Supplied

Food Farming and Freshwater Roadshow

Tiffany Tompkins at the Renwick Sports & Events Centre Photo: CosmoKentish-Barnes

In Renwick, six researchers spoke passionately about their projects to 70 farmers, viticulturists and rural professionals. First up was CEO of Organics Aotearoa New Zealand, Tiffany Tompkins.

"She's got a tough gig because agriculture in New Zealand hasn't necessarily always looked at somebody from organics with a lot of favor, and she's done a very interesting piece," Woods said of her research project, EU Green Deal: Impact on NZ’s land-based primary producers.

Tompkins says the Green Deal is a framework that puts a plan in place across all facets of the European Union's economy to be Climate Neutral by 2050. 

"There are many strategies and plans that touch on agriculture. So the biodiversity strategy, the zero pollution strategy, the farm-to-fork strategy, the bioeconomy strategy, but what's important is all of those strategies reinforce the goals that have been set by the Green Deal," she says  

Jim White, the technical and sustainable development director from Cloudy Bay vineyards, was stimulated by her presentation.

"I just think it's really interesting to get a an update on what's happening with the EU and the legislation and how that's going to impact us," he said.  

Other projects showcased on the day included Revitalise Te Taiao, Rere ki Uta Rere ti Kai, led by researcher Heather Collins and engagement lead Nick Collins, Future Land Use Scenarios by Lee Matheson from Perrin Ag, Diverse Experiences of Farming presented by Janet Reid of Massey University, Crop Disease Under Climate Change by John Saunders and Matrix of Drivers by Tim Driver from Lincoln University.

The Food, Farming and Freshwater Roadshow's next stops are at Maramarua on May 1 and then at Te Puke on May 8.

Food Farming and Freshwater Roadshow

Janet Reid and Heather Collins at the Food, Farming & Freshwater Roadshow in Renwick Photo: CosmoKentish-Barnes

Lee Matheson

Lee Matheson talks to a catchment group Photo: Supplied