Episode 2 - Farming on the Fringe
Ask Kaipara farmer Richard Kidd why he doesn’t consider himself a farmer anymore and he’ll tell you it’s because he is a food producer.
Richard and wife Dianne have farmed Whenuanui, a 370-hectare sheep and cattle breeding farm near Helensville on the outskirts of Auckland, for more than 30 years.
“Farmers are copping a lot of flak lately,” says Richard. “We are constantly blamed for everything from polluting our rivers to the way we raise our stock.
“Dianne and I produce prime meat for sale to New Zealanders. It doesn’t contain preservatives, it’s grown on healthy pastures and it tastes great. I am proud to produce the best lamb and beef I can, therefore the term ‘food producer’ sits well with me.”
The Kidds, along with 3 other like-minded Kaipara farmers are producing a brand of spring lamb which is sold in Countdown Supermarkets around Auckland. Their Kaipara Spring Lamb is part of the supermarket chain’s push to get consumers interested in buying seasonal food.
Richard says spring lamb has always been a tradition with New Zealanders. “We farm close to the city so it’s a short journey to the works, minimising the carbon footprint and reducing stress on the animals. This results in a tastier, locally produced product.”
The Kaipara farmers also promote their product in local supermarkets.
“It’s a little out of our comfort zone, says Richard, who says consumers enjoy talking to producers to find out how their meat is raised. “When they learn it’s grown locally, they always take some home to try.”
Richard and Dianne are award winning farmers, who have always factored in environmental benefits to their farm planning.
“We fenced off a large section of native bush well before it was fashionable”, says Richard.
“I was a bit lazy and didn’t want to have to pull out stray cattle beasts from the gullies, so I fenced it off to keep the stock out.”
The Kidds also take their breeding herd of 300 Angus cattle off the farm in autumn to calve in the neighbouring Woodhill Forest. “It’s great to get their heavy hooves off our paddocks during winter. We go out every day to feed them and they look forward to returning in Spring when the pasture is restored.”
Find out more about Whenuanui Farm here.
Read more about Richard and Dianne Kidd’s Supreme Balance Farm Environment Award here.
Find out more about Helensville here.
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