A Flag­ship for the Fu­ture

North & South - - Enterprise -

Whangara Farms is in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised as a world leader in the “three Es” of re­spon­si­bil­ity: en­vi­ron­men­tal safe­guard­ing, eth­i­cal prac­tices and eco­nomic vi­a­bil­ity. This farm­ing part­ner­ship on the East Coast near Gis­borne be­gan in 2006 and now cov­ers 1500ha, run­ning 2500 An­gus breed­ing cows and 60,000 sheep.

“Sus­tain­abil­ity is the key to ev­ery de­ci­sion we make, be­cause the de­ci­sions we make to­day and the way we treat the land are go­ing to af­fect fu­ture gen­er­a­tions,” says gen­eral man­ager Richard Sc­hole­field, who has cre­ated a farm­ing model that mea­sures and bench­marks farm sus­tain­abil­ity across key ar­eas of the busi­ness.

With sup­port from Mcdon­ald’s, Beef + Lamb New Zealand and Sil­ver Fern Farms, Whangara Farms has im­ple­mented an ac­tion plan that in­cludes tar­geted plant­ing of 3500 trees each year in ar­eas at risk of ero­sion, and the fenc­ing of all wa­ter­ways and trib­u­taries. A ro­ta­tional graz­ing pol­icy keeps both pas­ture and live­stock in prime con­di­tion, and cat­tle are in­di­vid­u­ally mon­i­tored via elec­tronic ID tags.

In Septem­ber, Whangara Farms was recog­nised on a global scale with its of­fi­cial ap­point­ment to the Mcdon­ald’s Flag­ship Farm­ers pro­gramme – the first time a farm out­side Europe and the UK has been se­lected for its sus­tain­abil­ity prac­tices. The pro­gramme not only iden­ti­fies ex­cep­tional farm­ers but also em­pow­ers them to share their knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence.

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