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On Farm Story | David & Kate Acland, Mt Somers

Historically there’s been some issues in farming, in the environmental sense and we all need to get better I think the point is that we’ve all been working on getting better for quite a long time you don’t turn a ship round in an instant and that’s what I think annoys most people the pace of change that is being required the danger is that farmers will just say ‘oh it’s too hard’ and give up you’ve got to have a goal that you can achieve We’re David and Kate Acland farming Mt Somers station in the foothills of Canterbury Mt Somers station is three thousand eight hundred hectares we are milking eight hundred and fifty cows we rear the bulk of the calves we’re lambing 9000 ewes this year and 1200 hoggets the deer operation is 1000 hinds with 900 young stock that we finish annually as well the beekeeping operation is 450 hives and we also have a cafe and a general store we’re doing three different types of honey clover honey, manuka honey and a beechwood honey dew it’s really just about keeping it interesting and I guess we’re really proud of the fact that we produce all of these products from the land and they’ve all got a wee story to tell we don’t do things that are going to affect the core we are farmers we are producing lamb and venison and milk and wool and that’s our core focus, but we’re not shy of looking outside the gate or looking at other projects and having a go at them we’re doing lambswool blankets so we take a portion of our wool clip each year and we turn them into beautiful made in New Zealand blankets it’s just like it feels really good to be doing something and creating a really beautiful product out of what is at the moment quite worthless but it is a really beautiful New Zealand heritage product we couldn’t do even a quarter of what we do if we didn’t have a really great committed team around us we want to keep employing people and having our strong local community there’s a critical mass that needs to be in provincial New Zealand to make it viable and at the moment farmers feel that that’s under threat we’d almost make more money out of farming carbon than sheep for 27 years. Once the trees grown… you can only claim that carbon for one cycle what happens then? we farm with a hundred year vision and that guides us and all of the decisions we make when we make annual plans or even just down to the paddock size decisions we ask ourselves, what is that effect on that hundred year vision? we’re in the most noble profession we’re growing food we’re looking after the land and I feel really strongly about instilling those values in the children we’re driven by actually handing on to the next generation a farm that’s better than we took over.

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