Sunday, 08 October 2017 08:55

Couple happy to get back home to farm

Written by 
Taranaki farmers Peter and Nicola Carver. Taranaki farmers Peter and Nicola Carver.

Taranaki farmers Peter and Nicola Carver are back on their farm after a recent trip to Wellington as the national ambassadors for sustainable farming.

He said it was good to better understand how Wellington works, “but good to get home and get stuck into improving our farming operation”.

The Carvers run dairy and dry stock on their 515ha family property at Ohangai, east of Hawera.

They won the Taranaki Ballance Farm Environment Awards in April, and in May won a role as ‘national ambassadors’ in recognition of their work in the primary sector, particularly on the environment.  

In Wellington they met agribusiness and government leaders and toured the Beehive with Taranaki-King Country MP Barbara Kuriger, meeting Labour’s primary industries spokesman Damien O’Connor and Rangitikei MP Ian McKelvie, who has chaired the primary production select committee.

“Clearly in the build-up to the election there was a lot of discussion about the effects farming has on the environment,” Nicola says. “I think there has been a shift in farmers’ attitudes… towards their being part of the solution. As a collective we’ve got a way to go but we’re now on a journey.”

In Wellington the Carvers met leaders DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb NZ, Rabobank and the Ministry for Primary Industries. 

Said Nicola, “The language of our industry leaders has changed: whereas in the past we’ve been defensive, now I hear much more about the need for farmers and the primary sector to step up to meet community expectations.”

The Carvers will tour overseas next autumn, funded by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust. They may go to the US where Peter wants to look at no-tillage farming as a means of improving soil fertility.

The Carvers say the Taranaki Regional Council has given them good advice and supported their efforts to meet their environmental goal.

They plan to connect with urban people, starting by hosting some of the people who showed them hospitality in Wellington.


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