High country farmers named National Ambassadors for Sustainable Farming and growing

// Awards

Red meat farmers Hamish and Simon Guild of Canterbury’s High Peak station are this year’s National Ambassadors for Sustainable Farming and Growing and recipients of the Gordon Stephenson Trophy.

Image of Hamish and Simon Guild accepting award

The brothers, who represent a diverse, multigenerational farming family, were awarded the title at the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust’s National Sustainability Showcase at Claudelands in Hamilton last week.

All Supreme Winners in the Regional Ballance Farm Environment Awards go through the judging process for the National Ambassadors title. This includes on-farm judging as well as a panel interview.

The judges said that the Guilds displayed a combination of an exemplary farming operation (from a financial, social and environmental perspective) and the ability to give informed responses and views on a range of pan-sector topics.

Chair of the National Judging Panel, Karen Williams, says Hamish and Simon gave articulate, succinct and well-thought-out responses to all of their questions and demonstrated a strong customer and market focus, with particular awareness of global markets and how products are seen offshore.

“They have a strong focus on succession with the idea of making the pie bigger to ensure everyone in the family finds a niche and place to operate together.”

High Peak Station is managed by an eight-way partnership and incorporates deer, honey, tourism, and sheep and beef.

There is synergy between all the separate entities with each family member bringing different strengths to the table.

The judges also noted the family’s approach to building climate resilience, particularly after experiencing floods and drought, their creative approach to health and well-being within their team and their involvement in their wider community.

The National Sustainability Showcase celebrated all 10 Regional Supreme Award Winners and Williams said that alongside a theme of multi-generational farming businesses and succession, the winners demonstrated a strong commitment to enhancing biodiversity, a clear desire to reduce GHG emissions and an emphasis on the value of telling their story as food and fibre producers.

Williams commented on the exceptionally high calibre of this year’s Regional Supreme Award winners and said it was a privilege to hear their stories.

“All of the stories were magnificent and as a farmer, you feel really proud listening to them explain what they do and why.”

Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s CEO Sam McIvor says the organisation has had a long and proud association with the Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

“We are proud to sponsor the Livestock Award in the regional Ballance Farm Environment Awards which recognises livestock farmers who demonstrate the need for long term land and animal stewardship.”

“As well as celebrating outstanding farm and environmental management, the Awards provide an opportunity to share good management practices and tell farmers story to the wider public.”

He congratulated the Guilds on being named National Ambassadors for Sustainable Farming and Growing and all the Regional Supreme Award winners.

“It was pleasing to see red meat producers so well represented amongst this year’s Regional Supreme Award winners, but all of the winners demonstrated an ability to protect and enhance their natural resources while running sustainable, highly productive and profitable businesses.”