Puketia Station judged the best
Matawai sheep, beef and deer farmers Malcolm and Caroline Rau have won the 2020 Gisborne-Wairoa Federated Farmers “Farm of the Year” competition and the judges said because the entry quality was so high, the outcome came down to the finest detail.
“It is with great pleasure and honour that Federated Farmers of Gisborne and Wairoa announce them as the winners,” said provincial president Charlie Reynolds.
The competition runs in conjunction with AFFCO NZ, AgFirst, Graham and Dobson, Rabobank and Ravensdown and in association with Beef and Lamb NZ.
“We had extremely high-quality farmers enter this year and though they all showed their business so well, the judges had to fight it out on minuscule details as all competitors were so close,” Mr Reynolds said.
The judges said the winners displayed a consistently high Effective Farm Surplus (EFS) per hectare and return on capital over the past three years.
“The ongoing improvement to the farm through expanding the deer fencing, pasture improvement and integrating a lease block into the operation was done to a high-level without overly impacting on the cost structure,” the judges said.
“Striving to achieve a balanced stock policy between sheep/beef/deer to improve overall returns and give resilience to changes in the respective markets.
“A balanced approach to the business from investing in the business to improve productivity and retiring debt to enable the ability to expand the scale of the business in the future and provide resilience to any external impacts outside the farm gate.”
The outlook and passion for farming was evident from Malcolm and Caroline with strong relationships built with purchasers of their stock, the judges said.
“They have invested into their employee, Cameron Hudson, to further his knowledge through AgITO, that will benefit Cameron's personal development. along with adding value back to the farm and the farming sector as a whole in the future.
“Ongoing investment is being made to improve the environmental footprint into the future along with a clear understanding of bio-security challenges such as M.bovis with a system to help minimise the risk.”
Mr Reynolds said the Federation and competition supporters applaud all the competitors.
“Not only that, they thought or were told they were damn-well good enough to win, and by the judges' comments they were.
“They stuck their heads up in an environment which says that farmers are bad and have no future,” he said.
“These farmers have shown that not only they, but all of our farming communities are more advanced on how to have an environmental based business that is more sustainable, and provides more for their communities than any other.”
The Raus were thrilled to be named winners.
They have twin daughters Isobel and Fritha, aged 20, and Murdock aged 17.
“We're all really proud. It's been 20 years of hard work for the whole family,” the couple said.
“The judging process was pretty full on, but we got a lot out of it.
“The judges were so supportive. Previous winner Peter Reeves was just awesome, with so many ideas and so forthcoming.”
The Raus said the whole process was so nice and laid back.
“We never felt under any pressure, the whole process was an enjoyable experience.”
• A field day will be held on Puketia Station on April 2, when the Rau family will roll-out the welcome mat for all those interested in a good look over the farm judged the district's best this year.