As Chair of the Accelerate 25 Primary Sector Reference Group, Shelley Dew-Hopkins actively encouraged farmers and rural professionals to participate in a Facilitators Training programme run out of Feilding. This has helped ensure there are facilitators engaged in the programme from this region, some of whom are now running groups. Of particular interest, is that the Horizons Region’s groups make up 27% of all action groups across the country, the most of any region.
“We are very pleased by these results, we are doing far better than we initially thought we would,” says Shelley.
An Action Group consists of 7-9 farming businesses who come together looking to enhance and extend their business. The structure and rules of each Action Group are determined by the group members. They also identify farm business opportunities that are of benefit to the group and can be included in the group’s Extension Plan.
Shelley is now also part of an Action Group.
“We have set up our own group here in Rangiwahia , we have a common purpose and a plan to bring in experts to meet with us to help us achieve our goals.”
Each group receives $4,000 per farm business from RMPP to kick start the group’s fund. This covers the cost for resources, experts attending and anything else the group feels should be in their budget.
“The way the groups have been set up gives those involved a sense of ownership, they set their goals and they create their own agenda on how to get there.
“I think this might just be why this programme has been so successful so far.”
If a farm business or rural professional would like to become involved with an Action Group their first port of call should be RMPP. Their website has a wealth of useful information.