Doing it for the farmers in my region

By Lyndel Stone

I started working one day a week for Ruapehu Federated Farmers in 1992. Now my territory covers much of the central North Island, from Galatea through to North Taranaki and I am also the field officers' team manager.

One of the reasons I have worked with Federated Farmers for so long is because it is a privilege to work with farmers in some of New Zealand's most beautiful areas. I also very much agree with the Federation's philosophy, so being a spokesperson for what we do comes naturally. Most farmers I visit are welcoming and open. Although some may not join, almost all agree Federated Farmers is the only group representing all farmers right across the broad spectrum of farming.

One of the job's highlights is seeing the sons of farmers I joined up many years ago now joining.

Over the years there have been tricky situations involving vehicles, ditches and, increasingly, dogs. The latest incident saw me doing a 100-metre sprint through a beautiful rose garden, a long jump onto the driveway and the Fosbury flop through the door of my car. My next job may be working with the Olympic team.

I live in Ruapehu district with my husband Bob and have five children. Our background is farming, but we now live on a small lifestyle block. Bob and I love travelling overseas, which always highlights to me how innovative and advanced New Zealand farmers are.

Most farmers I visit are improving their farms to leave them much more sustainable and profitable than when they took them on. I have walked through hectares of fenced pristine native bush and newly planted wetlands, established to provide habitat for native species. Farmers do these things because they love the land.

I am proud to work for an organisation which recognises farmers' achievements and wish some of agriculture's detractors would spend time with me on the road so they could see the huge areas farmers are voluntarily protecting on their land.

Federated Farmers' job is to protect farmers so they can continue these works. We do this by standing between farmers and those who make the rules which affect farming, trying to educate the regulators about the industry's realities and practicalities. We also advocate for best practice in farming. To continue ensuring farming remains profitable for the future, the Federation needs all farmers to support what we do.

- Hamilton News

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