Pasture to Plate Award winners Karen and William Oliver are
congratulated by Silver Fern Farms chairman Rob Hewett
(right). Photo by Peter McIntosh.
King Country farmer William Oliver's belief in the
consumer stemmed from his time studying at the University of
Mr Oliver and his wife Karen were the overall winners of the
Silver Fern Farms' Pasture to Plate Award.
Silver Fern Farms chairman Rob Hewett said the couple
impressed the judges with their focus on the consumer.
Pasture to Plate celebrated suppliers of lamb, beef, deer and
dairy stock categories who consistently supplied quality
stock to the company.
The first round of judging's range of criteria included
presentation, specification, farm assurance, direct and
committed supply, shareholding and supply volume and FarmIQ
The second round was an on-farm assessment of the four
regional winners by a panel of three.
They were asked about goals, business strategy, their
consumer focus, financial management and performance,
physical management and performance, environmental
management, and people in the business.
The regional finalists were Robin and Tania McKenzie, from
Clinton, David and James Hyde, from Scargill Valley, Landcorp
Wairio, from Featherston, and Mr and Mrs Oliver.
Speaking at the awards presentation, Mr Hewett told the
farmers that it was their operations that underpinned the
success of the business.
To be able to recognise them as winners in their regions was
a ''great pleasure'' and all four were worthy contenders of
Mr and Mrs Oliver have two properties in the King Country -
Three Rivers Ag Ltd, which won Pasture to Plate, and the home
The two properties comprised a total of about 1480ha, running
sheep, beef and deer. Managers were employed on both farms.
Mr Oliver said Pasture to Plate was a ''really good process''
to go through, while his wife said winning the title was
Family and people were very important in their farming
''Without people, we can't do what we do,'' he said.
They were very proud that some past employees had gone on to
manage ''bigger and better farms''.
Mr Oliver talked to the two managers every day and each month
they both wrote monthly reports, with a review of what had
been done over the past month, including Occupational Safety
and Health, stock reconciliation and animal health records,
and plans for the next month.
The couple had a business plan, a board of governance, an
accommodation business and their three children, aged from 11
to 15, took part in business discussions.
It was important consumers saw that what they did on the farm
met their values and that the animals led a natural and
healthy life, Mrs Oliver said.
Mr Oliver, who has a commerce degree, believed the red meat
sector had a great future, because of the product's health
He had a strong belief in brands, saying he believed it was
the only way to go to keep the value in the products, and he
was very supportive of Silver Fern Farms' branded strategy.
Mr Hewett was part of the delegation of red meat exporters,
led by the Meat Industry Association, that went to China
earlier this month, meeting Chinese regulatory agencies,
industry bodies and customers.
He returned ''very confident'' there was a ''huge future'' in
China. The market was affluent, consumption among the
middle-class was changing from chicken and pork to red meat,
and they wanted New Zealand's product.
China's domestic production of beef and lamb was ''going
through the floor'', driven by land-use change, environmental
pollution and central planning, he said.