Resilience means being prepared.

The Post Quake Farming Group hosted the first in a series of ''future-ready farm business'' workshops with resilience consultant Dr Joanne Stevenson in the Waiau Hall recently.

Dr Stevenson defined resilience as ''the ability to survive a crisis and thrive in a world of uncertainty''.

She said the ''future-ready farm business'' programme was designed to help farmers build the necessary skills to be ready for anything that might happen in the future.


A crisis could be anything from a natural disaster to an outbreak of disease in livestock, to a physical injury, climate change, issues in the export market, changes in legislation, or the challenges farmers might face from synthetic meat and milk.

''Even though a lot of these farmers here today have been severely impacted by the earthquake, they have been really focused on the future and thinking about what might be happening a year from now,'' Dr Stevenson said.

''If you want to make a change, start with small bites. So this is about, what can you do in the next 24 hours, in seven days, in a month's time and a year from now?''

Dr Stevenson is no stranger to crises, having experienced a tornado while studying in the United States and observing major flooding while doing post-graduate studies in the United Kingdom, then returning to the US in time to study the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

She moved to New Zealand in 2010 ''looking for a quiet life'', settling in Canterbury on the eve of the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes.

Since marrying into the Stevenson family at Cheviot, she has lived through a major wind storm, three summers of drought, the November 2016 earthquake and a false positive test for Mycoplasma bovis.

She said her studies had revealed that organisations were the heart of communities in a crisis.

''It's about how societies work and how people function.''

The farmers were given a questionnaire, and the answers were used to compile individual farm reports on the resilience of their farm business, using an internationally recognised organisation resilience diagnostic tool.

The questionnaire revealed the group as a whole were strongest in building networks and relationships, but needed to work on being ''change ready'', including strategic planning, testing those plans, and being proactive before a crisis.

The farmers were then given some scenarios to consider - including climatic changes, issues in the export market, a serious injury, moves to synthetic meat or milk, and changes in legislation - where they were encouraged to come up with strategies to work through a crisis and turn it into an opportunity.

-By David Hill

Central Rural Life