Anna Nelson joined catchment community group King Country River Care as it’s coordinator two years ago.

Anna and husband Blair’s 1100ha sheep and beef family farm is based in one of the sub-catchment areas—lower Mokau—and they’ve been with FMG for the 20 years they’ve worked the farm.

While the group was running informally for about five years, Anna came on board two years ago. Contracting a coordinator is recommended by Beef & Lamb New Zealand as a great way to increase the success of a group.

“What appealed to me about the role was working with farmers to help them understand the changes needed to ensure the future of our farms and our communities,” says Anna.

King Country River Care includes the Awakino, Mokau, and upper Mangaokewa catchments.

“When River Care first started, we were doing it because we wanted to — we wanted to do the right thing—now we’re entering a challenging time where we’re seeking to understand the water and environmental regulations.”

Recently, King Country River Care received more than $800,000 from the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) to help them continue cleaning up the waterways.

This an endorsement of the commitment of the group and the reputation it has nationally for the work it’s doing.

“In a very short year with Covid-19 we have 80 farms underway with their farm environment plans, which is a great achievement. We’ve worked quite hard to create a template for an average King Country farm that farmers can then adapt to their situation.”

King Country River Care is an advocate for looking for local solutions to local problems.

“We provide an alternate to a blanket approach for cleaning up waterways. It’s important to see ways to empower communities to come up with their own solutions. We believe that when you have community buy-in, you see success.”

King Country River Care represents more than 300 sheep and beef and dairy farmers and is governed by a committee of 12 catchment area representatives.