Open-door approach 'best PR' for farming

Last updated 07:01 05/12/2012

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An open farm policy fosters good relationships with the community, says Kaituna Ridge farmer Muff Newton.

Mrs Newton and her husband Paul Newton have owned and operated the 800-hectare sheep and beef farm south of Havelock for 14 years.

They also lease some pastures on the flats towards Okaramio which allow cattle to be finished and hoggets to be grown out, rather than sold store.

The couple managed the farm one year before leasing the farm for two, and eventually buying it in 1998.

Mrs Newton encouraged farmers to welcome people on to their farms at a Beef and Lamb Farming for Profit Programme last month.

"We've always had an open-door policy, inviting as many people as possible and I'd encourage you all to do the same.

"It's the best PR we can do for farming."

They host community barbecues, concerts and festivals and welcome trampers, hang-gliders, cyclists, kayakers and campers, including Outward Bound groups onto their property. "We've never had any problem with fences not being shut, and they will tell us if there are any problems with stock or fencing."

For the first time, the pair are hosting farm shows for Marlborough Travel this summer.

The shows for day visitors off the cruise ships which visit Picton will include a dog demonstration, sheep shearing and afternoon tea.

While their open farm policy is unusual among farmers, sharing their livelihood is something they enjoy doing, she said.

"Paul's not a generational farmer and he's always had a real love of going to other people's farms over the years."

"It's an opportunity to show people what you love doing and you meet some fantastic people."


KAITUNA RIDGE FARM

Kaituna Ridges area: 800ha

Hills: 600ha

Flats: 100ha

Bush: 100ha

2012 lambing: 4200 romney ewes, 780 hoggets

Tailing: 131 per cent from scanning, 134 per cent 2011 

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- The Marlborough Express

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