Always a way through

The disruption and distress caused by Cyclone Gabrielle has been a stark reminder of just how tough farming and growing can be and the importance of strong rural communities in any recovery.

The recent storms are just the latest in a sequence of challenging events over recent years that’s included a global pandemic, cost of living increases and tough market conditions in a number of sectors. Our thoughts and best wishes go out to everyone impacted by these events.

As communities begin to get back on their feet, Farmstrong is working in partnership with a host of rural organisations and sectors to provide tools, advice and resources that can support and strengthen them during the recovery.

Farmstrong’s partnership with the kiwifruit sector is an excellent example of what’s possible in troubled times. This year looks like another challenging one for growers. On top of recent extreme weather, green kiwifruit growers have been hit by poor returns due to export volume and quality issues from last year’s harvest.

The industry has teamed up with Farmstrong to create a new resource to help growers look after themselves so they can manage these challenges. Live Well, Grow Well tells the stories of experienced growers and industry figures who have navigated serious setbacks before and share what they now do to manage workload, stress and uncertainty. It also contains expert advice on topics such as nutrition, sleep, thinking strategies to manage pressure and the importance of rest and recovery time.

As Farmstrong ambassador Sam Whitelock says, “There are always the things in farming and growing that you can’t control, such as prices or the weather, which make life stressful. But when you work on a farm or orchard, you still have to prioritise your wellbeing and make it happen yourself. There are steps you can take to relieve stress and pressure if you’re feeling ‘under the pump’.”

“I’ve seen first-hand the positive impact that being Farmstrong has on people. Last year, 15,000 farmers increased their ability to cope with the ups and downs of farming thanks to Farmstrong. If you’re doing it tough, this is a very handy resource to add to your toolkit.”

There’s little doubt that the road to recovery will test the mental resilience of many communities in the year ahead. With this in mind, Farmstrong’s ambassador Sam Whitelock has just completed a suite of short video clips with Taranaki dairy farmer and author Kane Brisco in which they share how they stay calm and maintain a positive headspace under pressure. You can find the videos on the Farmstrong website.

As Kane shared, “In farming the challenges are always going to find you in one form or another. One of the first things I do when I’m feeling overwhelmed is to get stuff out of my mind and onto a bit of paper. It identifies your next job at hand. It makes it easier to clarify and prioritise what you actually need to do. I find that instantly takes that negativity out of my mind. It means you can embrace a challenge and see it as an opportunity to step up.”

Anyone looking for further insights on how to get going again after a setback will find plenty of practical, down-to-earth resources on the Farmstrong website.

Let’s end on a positive note.  The fact that iconic rural events such as Golden Shears, NZ Shears and Field days around the country are finally up and running again is a much needed tonic and something we can all celebrate. Even if you’re busy, make sure you get along and support these events which are a great opportunity to catch up with friends and neighbours and remind ourselves that no matter what challenges lie ahead, we are all in this together. We’d love to see you, so make sure you drop into the Farmstrong stand.

To find out what works for you and ‘lock it in’, visit

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