Good science and good farming at Grasslands conference

An International Grasslands Conference in Ireland five years ago convinced opened my farmer’s eyes to New Zealand’s natural advantages – the climate and soils which help us grow good pasture.

It also confirmed the already positive view he had of Grasslands Association as an organisation.

Farmers tend to be good adopters of science because it’s generally easy to apply findings and measure the benefits. Grasslands’ conferences brings together scientists and farmers for their mutual benefit.

At the conference dinner last week I was immediately struck  by the mutual respect scientists and farmers had for each other and the positive atmosphere. It was great to be somewhere where farming is valued, appreciated and celebrated.

A highlight of the dinner was the presentation of the Grasslands Trust Awards.

The Ray Brougham Trophy for an outstanding national contribution to the New Zealand grassland industry went to John McKenzie, general manager of  Wrightson Seeds.

The Regional Award for exceptional effort above and beyond the normal career contribution that supports the regional pastoral agricultural industry, be it technology development or an aspect of farming itself, went to Andy Macfarlane. He runs his own consulting firm, Macfarlane Rural Business, among many other contributions to farming.

The Farming Awards are given in recognition of  high performance pastoral farming and adoption of new technologies. The criteria includes: 

  • Good grassland farming – an impressive, profitable grassland-based business, run for at least five years on the property.
  • Innovative approach – using the latest grassland technology effectively.
  • Sustainable management – a good degree of sustainability in the enterprise and a strong responsibility for environmental matters.
  • Communication skills – passing on good grassland farming skills to others in the region, and including local community activity.

 These were won by Craig and Ros Mckenzie who farm at Methven, and my farmer.

The certificate says:  The presentation of this honour is a just tribute to outstanding ability and confidence in the potential of NZ’s greatest industry – Grassland Farming.

My farmer is quietly chuffed by  the honour and I’m basking in reflected glory.

7 Responses to Good science and good farming at Grasslands conference

  1. gravedodger says:

    Congratulations to your farmer HP, it would have been great to be among people celebrating success, as NZ pastoral farming is a world leader and although we do have favourable soils,climate and a work ethic that makes that so, lower performing farmers remind us just how successful the good ones are.
    New Zealand farmers are unique among business people in that they share success fully among themselves with no thought to “protecting” their successful strategies. That single fact means that good ideas are rapidly available to all in the sector by way of farm improvement groups and a free flow of information with the research and learning centers within the industry.


  2. homepaddock says:

    Thanks, GD.

    That’s a very good point about sharing success.


  3. Fredinthegrass says:

    Hearty congratulation to “Your Farmer”, Hp.
    In my experience, Gravedodger, involved as I was in some form of ‘farmer politics’ for many years, that the success sharing of farming strategies which was a major factor in the overall improvement in ‘bottom’ lines did not carry on to being a powerful lobby force as successfully.
    I remember coming home from discussion groups all fired up with new ideas.
    Then I would attend a meeting of some sort or other and come home wondering why I bothered.
    Thankfully there were enough discussion groups in our region to keep the ‘fires’ burning, and it was always a thrill when one of our members received an award.


  4. Farmer Baby Boomer says:

    I would like to join those who have congratulated your farmer HP. A very worthy winner I am sure. I am also sure that you deserve somewhat more than just the “reflected glory”. Most successful farmers are so because of the input in one way or another by their “better halves”.


  5. Tired Farmer says:

    I would like to endorse Farmer Baby Boomers comments expressed in the previos post


  6. homepaddock says:

    Thanks Fred, FBB & TF.

    My farmer does credit me with being part of the team, but that doesn’t make me a farmer just as marrying a surgeon wouldn’t enable me to wield a scalpel.


  7. Fredinthegrass says:

    Hp you are blessed to be married to a farmer rather than a surgeon!
    I cannot begin to list all my wife did as the ‘other’ half – it was of inestimable benefit to the business, the home, and our relationship.
    So Hp, do not underestimate yourself, and in the words of my Duntroon mate – “she is a good person”.


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