There are many farmers up and down New Zealand who contribute to the quality offering from Neat Meat. In Māori there is a word that sums up these farmers - kaitiakitanga. It means sharing guardianship of the land and being the caregivers of our kai - our food. Farming communities who strive to farm better, care for the land in a sustainable way and work hard to ensure that they and their livestock have a good existence in that place - that tūrangawaewae - are the sort of farmers Neat Meat strives to work alongside.
The farmers who’s stories are shared below represent this ethos and commitment and all contribute to the HARMONY brand.
Paul & tracey ruddenklau | kilbrannan farm, te Anau
south island, New Zealand
Paul Ruddenklau acts as a consultant for farmers who between them own 20,000 hectares in the South Island, most it in the Te Anau Basin where Paul and his family farm.
Paul and his wife Tracey moved with their two sons, Josh (14) and Charlie (10) to Te Anau 15 years ago to manage the 350-hectare Kilbrannan Station and they immediately had a problem to overcome – depleted soil. They revived the farm by going organic and by growing lucerne.
mike & Sharon Barton | glen emmreth farm, TAUPŌ
north island, new Zealand
The Taupō Beef & Lamb collective is fundamentally chaired by Mike and Sharon Barton.
In 2000, Taupō Catchment farmers accepted a ‘cap’ on livestock numbers and it was decided by all stake-holders that the amount of nitrogen that entered the lake needed to reduce by 20% in order to protect the lake. Close to 30% of farms were converted to forestry (a low nitrogen land use) through the work of the Taupō Protection Trust.
A permanent underground laboratory was established by Landcare Research on Mike and Sharon Barton’s farm to measure the nitrogen leaching from their property and ways to mitigate their environmental footprint.
Mike and Sharon live on the north western side of Lake Taupō where they own a 142 ha beef finishing property overlooking the lake. More than 20% of the farm is in conservation and riverbank plantings. Their farm has been the site of a seven year trial by Ag Research Ltd looking into methods of mitigating nitrogen leaching from beef farming systems. In addition, Landcare Research have established a permanent deep drainage laboratory / lysimeter facility on the farm so as to continue researching ways of lessening the environmental footprint from food production.
Mike was Chairman of Taupo Lake Care (TLC) from 2006 – 2009; the group responsible for representing farmers in the process of developing legislation around Lake Taupo’s water quality. He was also a Trustee of the Lake Taupo Protection Trust from 2009 - 2015, charged with removing 20% of the leached nitrogen from the Taupo Catchment by 2018. Mike and Sharon produce for the Neat Meat HARMONY range.
Our animals are grass fed. No cages, no pens, only open paddocks.
HURAKIA TRUST | HURAKIA STATION, tAUPŌ
north island, new zealand
Hurakia Station is a 2000ha Maori Trust beef and sheep farm with a multigenerational commitment to the Lake Taupo area. At least 25 percent of the property is in either conservation or riparian plantings. They have been involved with Ag Research to test ways of mitigating nutrient leaching from hill country beef systems.
Hurakia Station is one of the farm that breed Taupō Beef. It is both a breeding and finishing operation and half the angus cows are sired by a charolais bull.
Taupō Beef is verifiably produced in a way that preserves the water quality of Lake Taupō for generations to come – a first for New Zealand. The aim was to ‘grow’ a brand which would allow more farmers within the Taupō catchment to join the programme and gain a premium that would hopefully allow these farmers to stay in business. As demand for Taupō Beef grows, additional farmers will be needed to supply the required cattle.
Neat Meat is determined to support this initiative and make it a benchmark of what New Zealand farmers can achieve when the animals, the environment and the future is considered inclusively.