Skip to content
Every day, farmers and land owners make critical decisions about land use and management practice based on their knowledge, networks, advice, and values.

Logo: Survey of Rural Decision Makers (SRDM) 2015Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research conducted the second Survey of Rural Decision Makers in 2015 to help build a better picture of what drives these decisions and what New Zealand’s farming environment might look like in the future. The survey covers the entire spectrum of primary industry and lifestyle farming and includes a wide variety of topics.

The Survey of Rural Decision Makers was conducted on-line between July and December 2015. More than 3,000 people from across New Zealand responded, including more than 2300 commercial farm owners and farm managers.

The survey covers the entire spectrum of primary industry, including dairy, sheep and beef, deer, other livestock, arable, forestry, horticulture, wine-growing, and lifestyle farmers. It builds on an earlier survey conducted in 2013. Another round of the survey is planned for 2017.

This page provide insights into the wealth of information on commercial and lifestyle farming gathered from the survey, often breaking it down by region and enterprise.

About the survey

Summary results

The information from the Survey of Rural Decision Makers is used by industry, policy makers, and researchers to build a better picture of what New Zealand’s primary industry might look like 10, 20, and even 50 years in the future. The figures on these pages demonstrate the wealth of information gathered in the survey.

Survey analysis

While the summary results provide an overview, more detailed analysis is often required to explore specific questions and to improve understanding of the complex factors influencing farm management and decision making.

Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research is able to analyse and interpret survey data to help industry, policy makers, and other researchers. Supplementary surveys that build on the base information in the Survey of Rural Decision Makers and that delve deeper into a specialist topic can also be provided.


Each respondent who completed the survey nominated a charity to receive a $10 donation. As a result, the Survey of Rural Decision Makers donated:

  • Westpac Chopper Appeal ($17,520)
  • CanTeen ($6,760)
  • Federated Farmers Adverse Events Trust ($3,520)
  • Te Whare O Te Ropu Wahine Maori Toko i te Ora ($700)

Prize winners

And the five lucky Prezzy card winners were

  • Kay T. (Te Awamutu, Waikato)
  • David S. (Te Puke, Bay of Plenty)
  • Michele A. (Fairlie, Canterbury)
  • Ian L. (Winton, Southland)
  • Taoho T. (Dargaville, Northland)

Survey results

The results are posted as pie and bar charts, histograms, and box-and-whisker plots. We have put together some brief guidelines on how to interpret these results.


If you would like to discuss how Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research can help your organisation gain insights from the Survey of Rural Decision Makers, please contact:

Joanne Dow
Principal Engagement Advisor
04 382 6641

Key contact