Charities to benefit from family’s ram sale

Mark Stevenson and his son Ted (5) 
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Mark Stevenson and his son Ted (5) are gearing up for the family’s on-farm ram sale next week at The Gums, where two charities are set to benefit. PHOTO: Joanne Stevenson
Two particularly special rams will go under the hammer at the Stevenson family’s ram sale in North Canterbury tomorrow.

The Gums Partnership is donating the proceeds to charities which are important to the family — The Champion Centre, in Christchurch, and the Canterbury A&P Association.

Funding for both organisations has been affected by the disruptions caused by Covid-19.

"These organisations have been such a big part of our lives and we want to see them continue well into the future," Dr Joanne Stevenson said.

While the family has been a long-time exhibitor at the New Zealand Agricultural Show, Mark and Joanne Stevenson’s son Ted (5), who has Down syndrome, has been attending the Champion Centre weekly since he was a newborn.

"It’s been an interesting year, for sure, but we’re lucky as fine wool growers, that our wool income has been maintained as a central part of our business and profitability," Mr Stevenson said.

"Through the New Zealand Merino Company, our relationships with retail brands like Smartwool and Icebreaker give us the security to plan long term and provide clear direction for our breeding programme."

The Champion Centre provided multi-disciplinary early intervention services to infants and young children with significant disabilities and their families in Canterbury.

"The Champion Centre has been instrumental in helping us support Ted in his development and empowering him with the skills and knowledge to be his best," Dr Stevenson said.

"They have been a huge support, not only for Ted, but for our whole family."

The proceeds from the sale of a quarterbred ram lot seven — will go to the Champion Centre, while a Dorset Down ram — lot 206 — will be donated to the Canterbury A&P Association.

"It is critical that we maintain opportunities for urban people to interact with the rural sector and to raise their awareness of the livestock and wider agricultural sector.

"We see the show being an integral part of this into the future," Mr Stevenson said.

The annual ram sale will be held at The Gums property near Cheviot, with those unable to attend able to view the sale and make bids via the online platform Bidr.

Quarterbred, halfbred, Poll Merino, Dorset Down and South Dorset rams will go under the hammer.

The rams have gone through "a rigorous selection process", with feet and footrot resistance a major part of the selection criteria, Mr Stevenson said.

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