A time for reflection and opportunity?

I was approached by a company in early October asking if I was interested in running facilitated discussion groups (again) as they believed the farmers in the organic dairy and pastoral sector desperately required the benefits of this form of networking and support.

Over the last couple of months various other organizations and individuals have also expressed concern that the services Organic Promotions have offered over the past 20 years have largely come to a standstill.

These companies/organizations are prepared to support some of the cost of a range of services.

Things have progressed.


 what has Organic Promotions offered in the last 20 years;

  • development of organic displays at National Fieldays; Organic Promotions pulled together input/service providers for a united presentation at a number of 'Fieldays' between 89 and the early 2000's.  the best year we had 42 separate companies under the one marquee and this lead to the 'organic theme' area in the early 2000's.
  • held no less than 10 trade shows/ expos focused on information to the producer, in the early part these were hort focused and more latterly pastoral. 
  • have brought to NZ over 10 international speakers, the pick of these been Dr Elaine Ingham(now managed by SoilFoodWeb NZ), Dr Arden Andersen(now managed by BioAgNZ) and the most passionate Peter Segger QBE(the UK's leading organic wholesaler and grower).  
  • run workshops/seminars for horticulture and pastoral sectors(producer orientated ) ranging from several hours to several days. 
  • developed and delivered to primary producers a range of educational courses ranging from  several hours to over a 100 hours with NZQA qualifications where required by the sector. 
  • offered mentoring to many input/service providers on everything from product development to market requirements. 
  • generated media profile through print(articles,lift outs,handouts),radio, TV (rural delivery, country calendar, live on breakfast) 
  • organized and funded the OANZ launch in 2005, and a major role in many earlier sector events. 
  • operated "Extension Groups" in both the organic horticulture and pastoral sectors 
  • operated 'Discussion Groups' under contract to OD&PG (9 months 2007) 
  • and a lot of unseen background work at all levels (international,national and all ports all the way up to farmers) i.e. feed crisis 07, getting 2 farmers fast track certification May 08,AgITO,etc 
  • and of course attended meeting after meeting after meeting......... and still we are having meetings!


The opportunity

  • to pick up from where we were prior to the sector having central funding (2005). (Organic Promotions had Pastoral Extension Groups in 2 regions)
  • to again focus on delivery of information and support  to the only place that matters--- inside the farm gate! 
  • to pick up, encourage and support the initiatives of the organic input/service sector to the benefit of  the organic primary producer.


So what is on offer??

Organic Promotions has discussed with the input/service providers  (who have made these approaches) what they believe is required to meet the organic pastoral sector farmer(their clients) needs beyond just facilitated discussion groups.

This has been balanced by Organic Promotions historical and extensive organic pastoral farmer involvement and of course our own experience as producers in the dairy, drystock and market gardening fields over the last 35 years.
the following is the immediate outcome with further support and exciting initiatives to follow;

  • Organic Promotions will launch OrganicAg facilitated 'Pastoral Extension Groups'(open to all dairy,drystock and other pastoral farmers) in Waikato, Taranaki, Manawatu, Bay of Plenty and Northland in the last week of October 2008/first week Nov. 2008. these will meet monthly (except August).Days are 10am-2.30pm Oct-June, 10.30-2pm July/Sept.
  • A group will commence in the Wairarapa and King Country in November(subject to interest) and other regions as interest is registered, including the South Island. 
  • As groups grow they will split into 'focused disciplines(sheep, dairy, profit,etc) 
  • the August day will be combined with the March day for all groups to meet in one region. 
  • membership will include a series of support measures such as reference handouts, speakers, special topics and monthly newsletters. 
  • The OrganicAg  website will be launched in November 08, this will have information available to all with extra information to Extension Group members. 
  • Members of the OrganicAg Extension Group will have access to a library of books, magazines, videos and c/d's (to be launched in Dec08) 
  • In conjunction with the March Extension Group(the 3rd day) will be  an on farm 'Organic expo' with a wide range of service and input providers present. 
  • Organic Promotions will again create a positive media profile for the organic pastoral sector in all mediums.



Organic Promotions has always held a non-product/service aliment policy and believes the information supply must be independent of vested interest, and that it is this integrity of information supply that is vital to end users.

The various organizations/companies that have approached Organic Promotions accept this and endorse it.

While providing some of the funding they accept that it does not make this a direct line of sales, but rather builds profile and good will with the sector.

It is a requirement of Organic Promotions that supporting companies do not have the right of access to the members database.(and they have accepted this).

The organizations and companies supporting this initiative will be released over the next few weeks.


While there is financial support from the various sector companies it is essential that farmers make an investment also.
This will be $900+gst per year for the farm (includes staff)

Please calculate this against production(lambs, kg/ms, bales of hay), lower stock losses, networking gains etc-----see it as an investment not a cost.

This will give access to a range of support initiatives, some not mentioned, still been developed.


Simply contact us and you will receive a registration form.

I am happy to supply references and give contact details of farmers who have been involved in previous Organic Promotions Extension Groups.

Please feel free to ask any questions relating to this project.

Again thanks go to the input/service sector for driving this initiative and they will be announced over the next few weeks.
Bill Quinn
Organic Promotions,
OrganicAg Initiative.