On the next episode, screening 26 February 2017 at 7pm on TVNZ 1:
A Natural Success
Southland organic farmer Neville Parkinson had a problem - one he couldn’t solve by himself.
He didn’t have enough stock on the farm he owns with his wife Marlene at Waimahaka to make it worthwhile for a meat company to kill and process his animals.
So he took to the road to find other organic farmers in the lower South Island with whom he could join forces.
“I hoped in the car to see if we could get an organic network off the ground. “ Neville says.
These days Neville has 50 farmers in his Organic Futures network, and they supply at least 200 cattle a month to the ANZCO meat processing plant at Ashburton.
And it’s Neville Parkinson, who’s also worked as a truck driver, who transports them to the works.
“I get to combine driving and farming and it gets you around other peoples’ properties and out into the countryside - a good place to be on a nice day” Neville says.
ANZCO rep Wayne Pope, who helps Neville select the animals for the kill every fortnight, was initially sceptical he’d be able to supply enough animals.
“We’d had a couple of attempts to get organics off the ground,” Wayne says. “I said to Neville, ‘You’re going to have to get enough animals for a 12-month kill’. I thought that might be the last I’d hear from him.
“We’re now into overseas markets. It’s been quite a success story.”
Neville and Marlene are deeply committed to farming organically.
“It’s not a passing fad. People are very conscious of where their food comes from and what they’re eating. Organics ticks all the boxes,” Marlene says.
The couple’s farm was certified organic eight years ago.
“Being certified organic is a huge selling point. We need to get more farmers certified and get a lot more market opportunities,” Neville says.
Their Organic Futures network includes one of Southland’s only organic dairy farms, Retro Organics, and a large farm of several thousand hectares in West Otago, Hukarere Station.
Both pay tribute to Neville for helping to start the network.
“There’s not much Neville can’t turn his hand to,” says Robin Greer of Retro Organics in Wyndham.
Quintin Hazlitt of Hukarere Station says: “Neville realized there was a big hole among organic farmers. We were just ploughing along doing our own thing without much co-ordination or group marketing.”
For more about where Neville and Marlene sell their meat, visit:http://www.harmony.co.nz/farmers-neville.html
For more about the couple’s organic farmers’ network, visit:http://www.organicfutures.co.nz/
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