Farming for the future leader's programme


To enable and empower Dairy Women’s Network members to farm for the future


This project will expand the current Dairy Women’s Network Business Groups and pilot a programme of wrap – around services. The project will develop a series of content, provide coaching to support Business Group Leaders, develop a central knowledge hub and assess the impact of the programme to the food and fibre industries.

The Dairy sector grows, adapts and changes out of positivity and not fear.

The depth and breadth of farmers’ knowledge is extended through peer – to – peer knowledge transfer, key leadership development and learning opportunities.

Why are we doing the project:

The primary goal of the programme is to enable and empower Dairy Women’s Network members to farm for the future. 

We want the Dairy Sector to grow, adapt and change out of positivity and not fear.  

We are experiencing rapid change within the primary sector, so we have developed a programme to extend the depth and breadth of farmers’ knowledge through peer-to-peer knowledge transfer and learning opportunities. 

The programme of DWN Business Groups consists of 10-12 members. We currently have 7 groups across the country. Groups are coordinated by a DWN Business Group Leader who prepares an agenda and facilitates discussion, but the content of each meeting is set by the members. This encourages contribution and makes sure that relevant and timely topics are addressed. It also ensures the members are getting value out of the time spent meeting with their group, on field trips or listening to sector experts.
We have identified women, specifically Dairy Women’s Network members, as the drivers behind creating change on their farms, in their farming partnerships and within their teams. These women are the conduits of knowledge and growth back into their wider communities. 

The members in the programme represent the range of DWN’s 11,000 members.

We feel there is a gap and therefore the need to continue to build on the programme and spread it wider. Members challenge the status Quo and share their experiences and knowledge to help others in the group drive change in their own environments, community and businesses. Through collaboration and design thinking, group members innovate and implement solutions to problems shared by their farm businesses. While DWN’s partner-aligned workshops focus on opportunities to upskill, the programme provides a platform for continuous learning and thought leadership determined by the needs of the members in the groups. 

The positive effect is far-reaching, with shared knowledge and solutions filtered from the group members through their businesses, partners and farm teams to their neighbours and communities. Success starts from within; we often check in with members about how their inclusion in the programme has benefited the wider sector.  

The importance of the programme is to fill a gap in the current market by allowing  contribution to the wider agriculture sector through:  

  • Undiluted thinking and innovative solutions to a variety of challenges and issues facing farmers. 
  • Understanding, adoption and implementation of this knowledge. Members actively investigate and share the knowledge on an issue, empowering them to be.
  • Members who are supporting each other to be open disruptors, within the group or externally to challenge current practices and systems to drive change and in many cases implementing these changes.  
  • Development of the capabilities of individuals and groups to lead and facilitate discussions in the future, ensuring the practice of farmer-to-farmer learning is continued. 
  • Filtering of knowledge, leadership and innovation through the wider Dairy Women’s Network membership to empower the sector and aid with decision making in the future. 
  • Professional development for Programme Leaders to continue on their leadership journey.
  • Sharing the learning from groups at a summit that the wider primary sector is invited to.
  • Creating a knowledge hub platform that is one place for the sharing of learnings and a one stop place for overall sector sharing for members. 

 The programme continuation over the next 2 years is important to lay strong foundations to ensure the longevity and continuation.