Honour bestowed on Angus breeder

Angus New Zealand Association life member John Cochrane, of Kuriwao Valley. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Angus New Zealand Association life member John Cochrane, of Kuriwao Valley. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
An unwavering dependability, loyalty, honesty and integrity are the traits that have netted South Otago farmer John Cochrane an Angus New Zealand Association life membership.

The honour was bestowed on the Delmont Angus stud co-owner at the association’s annual meeting in Queenstown on March 10.

Association general manager Jane Allan, of Feilding, said the life membership acknowledged the contribution Mr Cochrane had made to the association.

He was the first chairman of the association’s Otago and Southland ward from 1998.

He was elected as a director and treasurer on the national board in March 2015.

In 2017, he was the vice-chairman and then chairman a year later, Ms Allan said.

"At this time, the association needed leadership, along with guidance and integrity to be at the forefront of mind for the association. John’s knowledge for constitutional law proved valuable to the core functionality of Angus New Zealand."

Mr Cochrane was "instrumental in leading the adoption of the new constitution" in November 2021.

The first independent director, Kendall Langston,was appointed under his chairmanship, she said.

"Boards must lead and be accountable and John’s dependability, loyalty, honesty and respect is unwavering. He demonstrates integrity, strong morals and ethical principals to do the right thing."

Mr Cochrane’s leadership had put Angus genetics at the forefront of the New Zealand beef industry, she said.

At the life membership presentation, Mr Cochrane was given a sculpture of a head of an Angus bull sporting ear tag 11320, a nod to the herd number of Delmont Angus.

Mr Cochrane joined a select group, she said.

"We don’t give out life memberships lightly."

Mr Cochrane said he "was a bit overwhelmed" to be given a life membership.

During his tenure as chairman up to 2023, he retained his role in the finance committee, he said.

"I kept my finger on the pulse on the finance side."

He gained governance experience as a Clutha district councillor for Clinton for 18 years from 2002.

"That put me in good stead around the New Zealand Angus board table."

He described the start of his tenure as chairman of the association as "stressful".

"We got through the issues and I think we have come through the other side and we have got a really strong organisation, where everybody is working together as one team."

When asked to elaborate on the issues, he said he preferred to "put them to bed" and look forward.

"There is a reason the windscreen is bigger than the rear view mirror.

"The past is in the past and what we can influence is what is in front of us — that was always my philosophy."

An objective of the association was to ensure the Angus breed "works on the farm and works in the restaurant".

Delmont Angus cattle on show at the Southern Angus Ward Tour in Kuriwao Valley last week. PHOTO:...
Delmont Angus cattle on show at the Southern Angus Ward Tour in Kuriwao Valley last week. PHOTO: ALICIA KEOWN PHOTOGRAPHY
He gave his time to the association because the Angus breed had been good to his family.

"You get a lot out of it and someone has to put their hand up to make sure it remains at the forefront of the beef industry for the next generation."

His father Stuart moved to the 1066ha ballot farm in 1949, about a year before marrying John’s mother Betty.

Stuart Cochrane registered the Angus herd with the association in 1963, launching a stud to produce bulls to use on the 500 commercial cows on the farm.

"He realised the Angus cattle were best suited for the environment."

After his parents moved to another family farm in Balclutha in 1979, he and his older brother Graeme farmed Delmont in partnership until 2006.

John bought Graeme’s half of the farm in 2014, increasing it to its current size of 1662ha.

Stuart Cochrane died in 1993 and Helen in 2021, aged 97.

John Cochrane’s son and daughter-in-law, Jono and Terri Cochrane, bought half of the farm business in 2020.

John and his wife Tracey moved to Wānaka in 2022 and Jono takes care of the day-to-day farm duties.

Over the years as the farm improved, stock numbers increased to 80% sheep and 20% beef.

Now the female cattle herd was about 260 registered Angus.

The No1 breeding objective was fertility, he said.

"If you don’t have a live calf, you don’t have any product to sell."

Other traits bred for were growth, temperament and great-tasting beef, he said

The stud was in good hands, Mr Cochrane said.

"Jono and Terri are completely passionate about it."

Ms Allan said the day after the annual meeting the Southern ward Angus tour began, visiting 13 studs over four days last week.

About 70 people were on the tour.

The studs visited were Delmont, Earnscleugh, Glenwood, Helmsdale, Kincardine, Kowai, Peters Genetics, Penvose, Pikoburn, Puketoi, Rockley, Umbrella Range and Waimara.

The tour was "absolutely fantastic", Ms Allan said.

"It was unbelievable."

Positive feedback from tour guests included the diversity of the countryside, the quality of the cattle and the southern hospitality.

"We had some Australians on the tour who were raving about it."



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