Red meat producers make up three of the four finalists in the 2015 Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition.
The fourth finalist is the competition's first entry from an aquaculture business.
All four will soon be visited by the Foundation's senior judging panel and will then earn their
final points from a presentation to judges and a live audience at Lincoln University on
The finalists are:
• Clearwater Mussels (John Young et el), Marlborough Sounds – a greenshell mussel
producer with 90 mussel farms ranging from 2.5 to 80 hectares processing for a
variety of food and pharmaceutical markets.
• Richard and Annabelle Subtil, Omarama, North Otago – primarily a sheep and beef
property with some smaller scale hydro and tourism operations with scientific
reserves and DOC and QE2 covenants on the property.
• Coleridge Downs Ltd (Tony and Pam Plunkett), Rakaia Gorge, Canterbury – high
quality red meats (beef, sheep, deer) across four properties ranging from hard hill
country to intensively farmed flats.
• Kilbrannan Farm (Paul and Tracey Ruddenklau), Te Anau, Southland – Organic
'Biogro' sheep and beef farm on flat to rolling country near the base of the Takitimu
Judging coordinator Tricia Macfarlane says all of the finalists demonstrated excellence,
innovation, and leadership across all sectors of the judging categories, but what stood out
for all of them was the effort they put into their staff.
"It is clear from the judges' comments," Macfarlane says, "that high performing companies
need great staff, and all of these finalists showed that investing in staff training,
advancement, responsibility and remuneration produced excellent results. Staff
performance, commitment and team culture were significant contributors to their employer's
success as a business."
The winning farm on 18 November will receive a $20,000 Lincoln University Foundation
grant for business-related travel and study.
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