Bringing urban and country people together

Article Details

9 Dec, 2019

Southland, New Zealand

Waikato Milking Systems and three of its partner dealer companies pitch in to help Ag Proud NZ hold seminars in Southland.

Three dealers joined forces to support a series of forums aimed at bringing the rural and urban communities together.

Cowley Electrical Dairy and Pumps, Laser Plumbing and Electrical as well as Progressive Engineering and Waikato Milking Systems all chipped in to help fund the initiative by Ag Proud NZ.

Initially the forums were set up to offer farmers some practical tools around improving their wellbeing and mental health. But Ag Proud also wanted to use it as a chance to close the divide between urban and rural people.

Ag Proud enlisted the help of motivational speaker Lance Burdett to lead the forums in Southland during the first week of December.

The free, public forums were held in Makarewa, near Invercargill, Balclutha and Gore.

Progressive Engineering General Manager Gareth Cowan attended the forum at Makarewa where about 80 people turned out to hear Lance speak.

“There were quite a number of Waikato Milking Systems customers there and we had some pretty positive feedback.

“Lance covered off some breathing techniques for people to use but he also talked about how these days we’ve all got a million thoughts running through our head, no matter where you are from, town or country.

“And we heard that it’s important to take some time out for ourselves, to reset and refocus.”

Gareth said people took the time after the forum to talk amongst themselves about the information Lance had shared with the group.

He said there was a lot of information to process but some great discussion afterwards.

“I think people also saw the value of simply coming together now and again, to talk and catch up.”

It was perfect timing to hold the forums just ahead of Christmas when everyone felt the pressure of providing for their families.

“Farmers are also dealing with the public focus on the environment, things like winter grazing, we’ve got a new water plan coming out and there’s some uncertainty about the government.

“So it was really important to have the forums now and that was supported by the number of people who turned out and the positive feedback we’ve had.”

Gareth hoped Ag Proud NZ would continue to offer the forums in the future.

“Ag Proud also run barbecues in town centres where they get farmers along to talk to urban people about what it’s like to work on the land.

“We’ve supported those events too and I think these initiatives are really important in terms of closing the gap between rural and urban people.”