Trustees of the new Hawke’s Bay Future Farming Trust delivered their first annual report to the Regional Council last week.
The Trustees are: John vander Linden (chair), Phil Schofield, Scott Lawson, Greg Hart, Liz Krawczyk, Tom Belford and Will Foley.
As noted in the report, the mission of the Trust is to: “Promote, inspire and celebrate profitable farming systems that enrich the environment and the community.”
The Trust’s long-term focus is on healthy soils, and the land, plant and animal management practices that yield healthier, carbon-enriched soils … believing that farming practices that focus on soil health will yield superior returns in terms of production, financial and environmental performance.
To build a Hawke’s Bay evidence base regarding such practices here in the region, the Trust is funding two initial projects — one specifically aimed at rigorously measuring soil carbon and interventions that can increase it, and the other targeting ten farms (initially dairy and sheep+beef) throughout the region whose ‘whole of farm’ practices and outcomes will now be comprehensively and consistently measured, modeled and monitored to identify and compare the economic and environmental impacts of alternative practices.
The Trust also intends to identify and celebrate — through a series of videos and case studies — all sorts of initiatives Hawke’s Bay farmers and growers are making to lessen their environmental footprint and improve farm resilience. Those could range from riparian planting or establishing wetlands to improving water efficiency or planting erosion-prone hillsides.