Why a hill country symposium?
AbstractIntroduction When I was young the hill country was where the store lambs came from. But with the flatter and generally better land being lost to the likes of urban and dairy farming expansion, New Zealand's hill country is now the key breeding platform, and is increasingly being required to finish stock for the red meat sector - a sector that generates nearly $8 billion/year in export earnings for the country. Hill country farmers, their service providers and local communities face notable challenges including continuing pressure on profitability, rural depopulation and climate change, as well as environmental pressure around the 'right to farm' from the greater New Zealand population. However, there are also great success stories in terms of the improvements in productivity and environmental stewardship that have been made in the hill country. The Hill Country Symposium (HCS) will update relevant research and present some of the industry's successes. However, our main aim is as a group to answer two questions: What does a profitable and resilient future for our hill country farming look like? What do we, collectively