Congratulations to our finalists and nominees
We thank everyone for taking the time to submit a nomination or entering the inaugural Beef + Lamb New Zealand Awards. After a thorough judging process, Beef + Lamb New Zealand is pleased to announce the finalists in the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Awards. Read our media release for more details.
The winners will be announced at a Gala Showcase in Napier on 2 February 2022. B+LNZ, along with awards partner Farmlands Cooperative, invite you to the inaugural Beef + Lamb New Zealand Awards Dinner to celebrate the people, science, technology and innovation that makes New Zealand’s red meat sector world-leading. Tickets will be available soon.
Meet our 2021 finalists below.
1. Cara Doggett (Wellsford)
Growing up on both a dairy and beef block in Wellsford, Cara began showing cattle at the age of eight and by the age of 13, had her first purebred shorthorn stud. Now, her shelves are stacked with prizes, ribbons and awards gathered from 12 years of showing her shorthorn cattle around Northland.
Cara is passionate about improving breeding cattle, taking a holistic approach that encompasses nutritional needs, reproduction and genetics. She owns, manages and operates the 28- cattle Ceejay stud, breeding both stud cows and bulls at her Wellsford family farm.
Cara’s greatest ambition is to be a mentor and have a major impact on the beef industry and wider agricultural community.
2. Estee Browne (Cambridge)
Farming was never on Estee Browne’s career radar growing up, but today the breeding programme manager for Browne Pastoral Enterprise’s sheep milking unit could not be happier.
Estee oversees selecting the genetics and replacement ewes for the company’s 1400 ewe dairy unit. She also rears 2400- plus lambs to weaning, after which they are either finished or the retained as replacements.
Before taking her on her current role. she worked as a livestock trader and was one of the first females in that role, often buying hundreds sometimes thousands of sheep a day, later progressing into cattle.
3. Luke Foster (Morrinsville)
Farming is in Luke Foster’s blood. Born and raised on a beef farm, after leaving school (where he was head boy), Luke cemented his intention to build a career in the sector by completing an agricultural commerce degree at Massey University, majoring in International Agribusiness.
He is now hands-on farming, managing an 800ha (550ha effective) rolling to medium hill country sheep and beef breeding and finishing property north of Morrinsville.
Luke uses any downtime to work on a Primary ITO level five production management course, having completed level 4 sheep and beef breeding last year.
His ultimate goal is to support other farmers by working as a farm consultant.
1. Agri-Women’s Development Trust (Masterton)
The Agri-Women’s Development Trust lives its vision by empowering women to accelerate progress and change in the primary sector and rural communities.
Over the past 11 years the charitable trust has empowered almost 5000 people with confidence, purpose, leadership and influence – from the farm to the boardroom.
Every day, AWDT graduates are leading positive change on farms in iwi and industry organisations and in rural communities. They are living their deep connection to ‘place’ and the environment, motivating technology uptake, growing others, building business literacy and connecting diverse stakeholders.
2. Coadette Lowe (Masterton)
In the six years Coadette Low has been at Masterton’s Rathkeale College she has transformed the agricultural department and opened her students’ eyes to the many opportunities within the sector.
As Head of Agriculture and Agribusiness, her passion and enthusiasm has seen a shift from just the practically-skilled students to include all academic levels. Complementing the curriculum is the use of the schools’ 8ha farm where students hone their management skills. This has attracted the support of the Wairarapa farming community who have been generous in their involvement and appreciation of the program.
3. NZ Rural Leadership Trust (Lincoln)
In 2013, two of New Zealand’s most prestigious leadership programmes came under the management of the New Zealand Rural Leadership Trust.
For decades, the Nuffield Farming Scholarship and the Kellogg Rural Leadership Programmes have been growing leaders for New Zealand’s food and fibre sector.
The Trust continues to innovate so that New Zealand’s food and fibre sector can grow the world-class leaders it needs to succeed in an increasingly complex world.
1. Bob Thomson (Te Awamutu)
Now scanning five decades, Bob Thomson’s farm consultancy career began in the halcyon days of the Ministry for Agriculture and Forestry’s extension service.
Over his career, Bob has had a huge influence on this country’s beef industry. He was instrumental in establishing the Beef Council, the New Zealand Beef Improvement Group, the Landcorp Beef Cow for Profit Programme which included over 40,000 breeding cows and advocating for the game-changing Dairy Progeny Test.
Bob says the most rewarding aspect of his career has been supporting grass-roots farming families through adversity and helping them achieve their farming goals.
2. Professor Derrick Moot (Lincoln)
Early in his career, plant scientist Professor Derrick Moot’s identified that east coast hill country farms would be impacted most by a changing climate. He has subsequently spent his career giving farmers the tools to build resilience into their farming systems.
Much of his work has revolved around the use of water-efficient legume lucerne. Derrick dispelled many of the myths around its use and management and this has proved transformative on many dryland farms. Not only have lucerne and legume-based systems generated greatly improved productivity and profitability on farms, they have created significant environmental and social benefits.
3. Dr David Stevens (Mosgiel)
As a farm system scientist, who has a background in agronomy, David Stevens’ 37-year career has spanned one of the more tumultuous periods in New Zealand’s agricultural history. He has seen the removal of subsidies and the rapid shift from a focus on stocking rates and wool production to meat and productivity.
In the early 1990s, farmers found that what they were producing was no longer fit for market. They needed forages that would deliver in terms of animal performance and David and his colleagues began doing animal production trials alongside agronomic trials. This became farm systems work. He says the most rewarding part of his work is having the opportunity to work one on one with farmers through a number of projects.
1. Daniel Eb (Northland)
Dan supports those building a just, regenerative food system in New Zealand.
He sees redesigning agriculture for society-wide impact as our best shot at confronting the existential challenges of our time.
Dan is the founder of Open Farms – New Zealand’s nationwide, all-sector open farm day to reconnect urban Kiwis with our land, food and farmers. He is a media contributor, industry speaker and Northland farmboy. While happiest on a fence-line, his day-job is supporting progressive agricultural organisations with purpose marketing through his communications agency, Dirt Road Comms.
2. Sandra Matthews (Tairawhiti)
In March 2015, Gisborne farmer Sandra Matthews co-organised a get-together to gauge interest in an organisation that would help farming women from throughout the Tairāwhiti region connect, as well as offering opportunities for further education and development.
The response was overwhelming and so Farming Women Tairāwhiti (FWT) was born.
Now with a membership of over 850 primary industry women, Sandra believes the success of FWT was partially due to the region’s isolation, with no other organisation offering farming women the support, connectivity and educational opportunities they were craving.
3. Meat the Need (Takaka)
Meat the Need was the brainchild of South Island farmers Wayne Langford and Siobhan O’Malley who saw a need to connect the dots between farmers willing to donate red meat and New Zealand’s most vulnerable communities.
While the initiative was still on the drawing board in early 2020, its launch was fast-tracked during the national lockdown of that year when the pair saw the hardship the situation was creating.
Through Meat the Need, farmers are able to donate livestock which is processed by Silver Fern Farms.
Meat the Need has had more than 600,000 meals donated to over 85 food banks throughout the country, ensuring thousands of New Zealanders have access to highly nutritious grass-fed meat.
1. AgResearch Parasitology Team (Palmerston North)
According to a recent report, if anthelmintic resistance were to become widespread, it has the potential to cost New Zealand’s red meat industry $700 million dollars annually in lost production.
AgResearch’s Palmerston North-based parasitology team of 15, including seven scientists, is working hard not to let this happen.
Tasked with developing evidence-based recommendations to help farmers manage parasites and delay drug resistance, their focus over the past 20 years has been on developing strategies to enable farmers to manage parasites with less reliance on anthelmintics.
2. Lincoln University Dryland Pastures Research Group (Lincoln)
For the past 20 years, the Dryland Pastoral Research Group has provided the science that underpins the agronomic guidance they provide to transform sheep and beef farms on hill country throughout New Zealand.
Their science has refined and promoted lucerne and subterranean clover grazing management to add resilience to summer dry properties throughout the country.
Their work has transformed thousands of hectares of east coast hill country from Central Otago to Gisborne. The Dryland Pastoral Research Group’s message has been to use legume dominance to address low nitrogen – the main impediment to production in farm systems.
3. Strategic Winter Grazing Research Team (Mosgiel)
A study that was part of the Pastoral 21 Research Programme has gone onto to have a profound effect on winter grazing practices throughout the country.
For four years, AgResearch’s Strategic Winter Grazing Team, made up of Ross Monaghan, Seth Laurensen and Tom Orchiston looked at the impact the management of critical source areas had on sediment and phosphorus losses from intensively grazed forage crops.
The project developed grazing management practices that encouraged farmers to think more in terms of landscapes than paddocks – particularly considering the vulnerability within those landscapes and taking measures to protect them.
1. Farmax Ltd (Hamilton)
Farmax is a software-based decision support tool widely used by New Zealand’s pastoral farmers to help balance financial, environmental and production goals while encouraging them to take a holistic approach to farm planning.
The main users of Farmax are scientists, farm consultants, individual farmers and educational institutes. Over the past two decades almost 10,000 New Zealand farms have used Farmax, equating to around 250,000 Farmax files.
Farmax’s CEO Gavin McEwen says the tool has no equal internationally, with nothing able to model pastoral-based systems as deeply or as broadly as Farmax does in a way that can be easily interpreted and actioned.
2. Knode (Hamilton)
Knode is a technology company which had its origins on a Te Kuiti dairy support farm.
Founder Richard Wildman was looking to technology for a solution to the time-consuming job of monitoring water systems on his father’s farm. This coincided with the availability of low power networks and Richard developed a monitoring system that saved both time and water.
Richard launched Knode five years ago along with three school friends. While the initial focus was on developing monitoring services for the agricultural sector, they have since expanded into a number of industries including working with councils on large projects.
3. Silver Fern Farms Calf Booking app (Dunedin)
Silver Fern Farm’s Calf Booking app was designed to standardise bobby calf procurement procedures between the North and South Island, while giving the company’s processing sites an understanding of forward capacity.
Working with a digital delivery partner, Silver Fern Farms built on their experience with an existing supplier app and website, reusing components of the former to build a bespoke App, specifically for dairy farmers to view pickup schedules and book their calves for collection.
1. Maatua Hou Ltd (Burnham)
Creating a viable business on a small land holding while demonstrating an alternative calf rearing model that reduces bobby calf wastage is at the heart of Maatua Hou’s business.
Set up by four couples who saw an opportunity to think outside of the square, Maatua Hau owns a 34ha drystock block at Burnham, around 40kms outside of Christchurch.
They set up what they describe as an alternative calf-rearing model, one where the supplier cashflows calf rearing costs and profits are shared.
They key is to get the right genetics and this means encouraging dairy farmers to use superior beef genetics proven for use across dairy cows.
2. Mt Linton Station, IMF Sheep Genetics (Southland)
A long-term focus on increasing intra-muscular fat (IMF) in Mt Linton’s Angus herd has been paying financial dividends, so the next logical step was to do the same in their sheep.
Always looking at ways to add value to the red meat they produce, three years ago the team at Mt Linton sourced genetics from a large-scale Australian sheep breeding operation which has been selecting and breeding high IMF sheep for many years.
Importing a mix of terminal and maternal IMF genetics, Mt Linton has been artificially inseminating 500 ewes annually.
Mt Linton’s ultimate goal is to create a niche product that will demand a higher price in the market place.
3. Sam and Sarah Johnston (Wairarapa)
Wairarapa farmers Sam and Sarah Johnston don’t shirk away from a challenge.
Rather the couple, who farm Reata , a 800ha sheep and beef property near Tinui, actively seek out solutions to problems and demonstrate a willingness to try new tools, systems and techniques that could ultimately benefit other farmers.
Dealing with challenges that are common to farmers throughout the country, the couple strive to fix the problem and will take a calculated risk to do so.
Over the years they have learnt to embrace change and be at ease with the disruption facing the sector, looking for opportunities within it.
1. Coastal Lamb (Whanganui)
For Richard and Suze Redmayne, launching the Coastal Spring Lamb brand in 2010 was the answer in their quest to better understand their lambs’ end-consumer.
Initially targeting New Zealand’s domestic market, they now export to 14 markets around the globe.
As the business has grown, Coastal Lamb which is available from February to September has been added to complement Coastal Spring Lamb, which delivers new season’s spring lamb from October to January.
Coastal Lamb involves 17 family-owned supply farms from throughout the country. Critical to Coastal Lambs’ success is connecting the producers with the consumers (including chefs), many of whom had never had the opportunity to meet a farmer before.
2. Spring Valley Enterprises (Masterton)
The team at Spring Valley Enterprises are proud, passionate producers of high-quality protein.
Spring Valley incorporates 2100ha of rolling hill country near Masterton and is farmed by Matt and Lynley Wyeth and their team.
Being early adopters of technologies has helped drive efficiencies in their business and has enabled them to offer consumers full transparency and traceability of what they produce.
Farming with integrity is crucial for the couple who maintain the highest standards across all their farming and environmental practices
3. Middlehurst Delivered (Blenheim)
The concept to sell Middlehurst Merino meat online was developed by sisters Sophie and Lucy Macdonald during the first COVID-19 lockdown in 2020.
By the time the second lock-down came around, they were up and running and able to take advantage of the seismic shift to on-line purchasing, quickly building on their solid customer base.
The pair says the concept came out of farm succession discussions with the family where they were looking for opportunities to stay connected to their 16,550ha family farm in Blenheim’s Upper Awatere Valley.
Passionate about what they have created, they say it is the best feeling knowing that the meat for which they are receiving such overwhelmingly positive feedback comes from family farm.