Using her parents as her daily inspiration, Jana Anich has forged her own path playing to the strength, courage and resilience she was taught as a child. Raised on a sheep and beef farm under the stark Grey Cliffs of Mokauiti in the King Country, she then moved north to another farm in the high altitude, coastal Kaipara Hills – just north of Auckland. With a degree in Commerce, majoring in Supply Chain Management and Global Business, she takes pride in having leveraged her learnings through working in wholesale produce procurement around Wanaka. Now based on the family farm in Kaipara, she’s intent on building on her own farming skills, easing her parents’ workload while developing both the farm and the business.

When asked what concerned Jana about the health, safety and wellbeing of those in rural industries and communities, she highlighted the need to abolish the culture of having to ‘harden up’ – reinforcing the need for everyone to be more open and more willing to communicate. Not just when it comes to keeping everyone safe on the farm she said, but also to mitigate the effects of depression and mental health issues in rural families. She also mentioned how having locator apps and charged phones should be a well-engrained habit for all, as well as setting specific times to discuss the day’s work, any thoughts, concerns, insights and observations in order to build and maintain healthy relationships.

How would you describe yourself in three words?

Reliable, honest and dedicated.

Tell us something interesting about yourself...

I grew up in Mokauiti, a tiny place in the King Country on a sheep and beef farm. My childhood was a healthy combination of farm work and adventure. I remember telling my friends it was my kingdom, everything the light touches! 

My parents bought their first farm just after I was born and have been farming together ever since, they are my inspiration every day. They now own a farm in the Kaipara Hills, north of Auckland. This is where I plan to build on my own farming skills in helping to ease their work load while developing the farm, a business and carving a path of my own.

I completed a degree in Commerce majoring in Supply Chain Management and Global Business at Lincoln University and spent three years working in wholesale produce procurement.

I have laid out many challenges for myself over the next few years and am very excited to be building the future I want for my family and community.

What achievements are you most proud of?

Being with my beautiful partner Rowan. We always encourage each other to do, be and achieve the things we want in life.

What makes you truly happy?

Working together with animals and nature in the garden and on the farm. Taking a moment in every day to quieten the mind and appreciate the amazing canvas and resources we have in Aotearoa.

What do you love the most about being a rural woman?

Your business, your land, your work, your home, your family, your life – it is all there for you – every day. YOU have the freedom to build and create these things in any way you can dream of, the possibilities are endless.

Tell us about a time when you felt worried about your own or someone else’s health, safety or wellbeing.

As many farmers understand, there are times when it seems like the whole world is against you. I began to learn about the effects of depression and mental health issues on rural families as a young teen. I understand the ‘harden up’ culture and the tendency for people to bottle things up, especially to protect others, but this needs to be a thing of the past –  we all need to be more open and more willing to communicate. I would hate to think how many accidents have happened on farms simply because emotions took over and proper communication went out the window.

What practical things did - or could - you or someone else do to prevent yourself or someone else from getting hurt?

Communicate. Have locator apps on phones and make it a family/business responsibility to always have your charged phone with you.

"Communicate. Have locator apps on phones and make it a family/business responsibility to always have your charged phone with you."

Is there a time, place or scenario when your partner or those you work or spend time with are more willing to make changes to the way the work is done, or are more open to making safer, healthier choices?

Making a specific time of day every day to talk openly about not only the day’s work but also of any thoughts, concerns, insights or observations is a very important part of building strong healthy work and family relationships. Ensure this is a constructive, open talk where everyone is involved and all ideas or concerns are valued.

If you could give any advice to another rural woman about health, safety and/or wellbeing in rural industries and communities, about influencing change in business - or just in general - what would it be?

Be persistent –  people always seem to find a way to doubt you and often make you question your own abilities. If you know what you want, go for it and don’t let anyone stop you. If you’re not sure, learn, and if at first you fail, try again and never be afraid to dream big. There is nothing more inspiring than a person who views every challenge as an opportunity.

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Everyone knows someone who could be making smarter, safer and healthier choices.

No matter what role you play, where you live or what you do, we all have a responsibility to look out for the health, safety and wellbeing of ourselves and those around us.  

30 years ago no-one wore seatbelts. Today we do it without even thinking about it.

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