Hawke’s Bay Farmer of the Year title win a definite family affair
This year’s Richmond Hawke’s Bay Farmer of the Year award was a family affair.
Thirty years after E.B. (Tuki) Hindmarsh’s friends began the Hawke’s Bay Farmer of the Year competition to commemorate him, the award was won by his son Michael and daughter-in-law Mandy.
They received the Hindmarsh Trophy at the Richmond Hawke’s Bay Farmer of the Year event in Hastings – on April 23 from Mike’s mother Belinda Galbraith.
It was the Hindmarsh’s fourth attempt as finalists in the competition. “We might have worn the judges down,” Michael says. The couple farm Alnwick at Otamauri, about 40 km west of Hastings on the Taihape Road.
Judges Nicola Shadbolt, a senior lecturer in farm management at Massey University and David Brownrigg of Brownrigg Agriculture and a director of Wrightson described the Hindmarshes as a very vibrant couple.
They won $10,000 cash from Richmond, $1500 in products from Ravensdown and $2000 from Rabobank.
Shadbolt says the Hindmarshes have very much a family business. “A lot of work has been done on family businesses, and key factors are loyalty, sacrifice and sharing of skills.”
“Ninety seven per cent of New Zealand farms are family farms. It was interesting the document we were given when we turned up had a very good graph of economic farm surplus increasing over time. It was their son Patrick who did the graph.”
Patrick, 13, is at boarding school in Hastings, and Rebecca, nine, attends the local Sherenden primary school.
“To have that real family support presented so well was a real positive,” sh says.
The results were not just based on economic farm surplus, former winner and event organiser Peter Tod told the 210 people at the awards dinner.
Stockmanship, the environment and relative performances compared to others farming similar land were also considered. Shadbolt also praised their commitment, work ethic and continuous improvement. They are challenging themselves and each other, she says. Their professional approach managing the judges paid off. “These people managed us very well. They presented something we couldn’t turn down.
“They presented us with a folder with all the information and photographs, and they had thought through where they would take us.”
“It didn’t matter what you threw at them, they had thought about it. We got the impression they were thinking about new things, and challenging what they were doing. There was no sitting still. Certainly from our perspective what came through was the real buzz.”
Michael Hindmarsh says their business is a real partnership. They farm 319ha, with 305 effective, running sheep and beef. Ten hectares are in production pine trees. They rear just under 300 four-day-old dairy calves, which are finished at 18 months. They also ram 2000 ewes, marketing their lambs before Christmas, and summer trading more lambs.
A field day is planned on the Hindmarsh farm on May 16 starting mid morning.
Finalists all ‘love what they are doing’ says judge
All the finalists in the Richmond Hawke’s Bay Farmer of the Year loved what they were doing says judge David Brownrigg. “What came through from the Hindmarshes is here are people who are in the right occupation for them. It is a business, but it is something they love doing, and they love bringing up their kids there. And they are happy doing what they are doing,” he says.
“They are top performers, and they are using the other resources of the family. This is real team effort, and it is a strength of these guys,” he says.
“It is not surprising to see they are people with some real purpose. That’s reflected in their focus on their enterprises and intensification.”
The first thing Michael and Mandy Hindmarsh gave the judges was a folder of information describing their business. On the first page is their mission:
“Strive for excellence to create a balance for enjoyment in family, work and recreation.”
They both enjoy what they do. Michael says their mortgage used to be a big driver of their business, but another was the drive to win the farmer of the year competition.
“I just enjoy farming and we are lucky to have the opportunity to farm in Hawke’s Bay.”
They also have extremely high production, increasing their beef production in the past four years by 100%, and their lamb production by 72%. Now their effective farm surplus is $855/ha.
Co-judge Nicola Shadbolt says while every farmer has had financial improvement in the last few years, the Hindmarshes have shown a marked improvement in their under-lying production as well. “They were very strong in that respect.”
Photo caption: Michael, Rebecca, Mandy and Patrick Hindmarsh and their dog Purdy, with their calf rearing shed behind.