The dog feeder transforming rural mental health I Gerard Richards, DuraTech
Rural mental health can now benefit from a simple, effective Kiwi invention that attracted crowds at Fieldays. Farmers find it hard to get off-farm due to the tie of feeding their working dogs daily, as the Manawatu farmer-turned-inventors knows personally so he set out to do something about it!
I wondered about heading to the coast for a fish for the weekend, with the hope the manager could feed my dogs for me. He mentioned he had a bit on with family, so that made my decision for me - I wasn't going to go away.
With the vision to ‘feed freedom’ for both the farmer and the dog, Gerard along with his partner Claire created Durafeed, an automatic dog feeder.
As a Change Maker this week in Sarah's Country, Gerard discusses:
How he vividly remembers a stinking hot day in the sheep yards, back in December 2016, when he was working with the dogs to push sheep up the race for processing, that the idea of an automated dog feeder, known today as Durafeed, first came to mind.
The real challenge for farmers both employees and employers alike, to get off farm to spend time with their family and take a break is the reason there is so much interest in such a simple innovation.
The process of developing the Durafeed automatic dog feeders and the route to commercialising the invention for dog owners to purchase.
About Gerard Richards:
A rural Manawatu born and bred farmer, Gerard, along with partner Clare and their young daughter, are currently leasing a hill country block in Northern Horowhenua, where they're farming sheep and beef.
He's always had an interest in working with animals, as they always find a way of keeping him on his toes and teaching him something new from season to season. Gerard's connection to the land runs deep, having had previous roles on a cattle ranch in Australia, in the live export industry as a stockman for 4 years at sea but his heart was firmly at home, eventually coming back to NZ to get his feet back on solid ground with a team of dogs.