Melonie is a Connector. She connects people to create better outcomes for the red meat sector. Melonie has found that there is a plethora of people, professionals, organisations and industry bodies all working, selling and creating stuff for farmers – most operating in their own silo with the belief that what they’re doing is the right thing. She has seen that sometimes it is; increasingly it isn’t. In her work Melonie encourages working together to create a win-win for farmers and those parties involved.

"I love that I am able to connect people and build our own team of teams."

"I love that I am able to connect people and build our own team of teams."

Melonie is a People Management Consultant to the red meat sector and has been working with farmers for 23 years. With a family background in sheep and beef farming and career in farm consultancy, agricultural training and human resources, Melonie experienced farmer frustrations. Particularly with the huge amount of information, resources, products and services available to them. "How do you sort the wheat from the chaff – what should I read, what should I attend, what should I buy?"

Melonie's mission – "to simplify our world and grow sector understanding. To assist farmers to learn; not just provide more stuff for them to sift through."

In her work Melonie is learning how to provide information and resources to farmers, their family and their business through extension activities and adoption support. Information and resources that are relevant and timely. In time, if rural professionals, product suppliers and sector support services can see the opportunity for treating their farmers as learners, Melonie has no doubt we will see more practice change on farm and improved productivity and profitability within the sector.

"I love the concept - we are a ‘team of teams’ (taken from the US Military experience in how they needed to change their approach to win the war against ISIS). Whilst still battling, silo’d operators have come together in an interlinked system where goals are shared and communication is number one in their armoury. I wish that for New Zealands’s red meat sector. I love that I am able to connect people and build our own team of teams."

Educating others and building a united understanding is a strong way to improve systems in future agriculture. Keep up your hard work as a connector!