Farm Stays on North Island - Day 7

Last night we all were split off into groups and had the opportunity to stay on a farm with host families. The following paragraphs describe each groups experience with their host families.

 Hattie, Naomi, Katelyn G, and Alana
Katelyn, Alana, Naomi, and Hattie stayed the night at Pia and Roger Lampps house and enjoyed a lovely dinner with conversations discussing U.S. politics, particularly Donald Trump, and the various farming operations in the area. The ladies also got to play with Ridge the dog and Frankie the cat. One of the operations discussed was the Tutu Totara rotary dairy that Roger took the girls to in the morning. The dairy operates year round, but has the majority of the herd calves in the spring. Approximately 1,200 cows come through the dairy, but during the winter 150 fall cows calve to provide some income over the winter. After visiting the Tutu Totara dairy, Roger took the girls out to see more of the farm and showed them what a fodder beet actually looks like. The girls learned that a fodder beet is a cross between a mango and a sugar beet. Roger and his son use the fodder beets with their cattle and sheep in addition to grass silage. 

   Cody, Shawn, Dathan, and Scott
Shawn, Cody, Dathan, and Scott stayed the night at Murry and Jean Coleman’s house and had a great evening with an amazing meal. Jean made lasagna and potatoes for supper. The Colemans raise approximately 120 Angus beef cattle along with 3,500 Coopsworth sheep. After supper there was a lot of conversation with the topics of agriculture, politics, and entertainment being talked about. Through conversation we found out that there was a lot of similarities discovered about farming practicing and problems alike. The following morning we had a light breakfast and Murry went to work some of his sheep while Jean took us on a tour around the farm.

 Maria, Jayd, and Kasey
Jayd, Kasey, and Maria stayed at Alan and Prue Deighton’s house and enjoyed refreshments and dinner with conversation which included travel, family, and agriculture. The Deighton’s have a hobby farm of Short Horn bulls and sheep. Prue works with disabled students with dyslexia and Alan recently retired as a livestock buyer. We had a few surprises which included seeing rare Sulphur Crested Cockatoos and a wild hedgehog. We also enjoyed views where we could see the mountains, ocean, and rolling hills.

 Brandon, Bennet, and Ben
 Ben, Brandon, and Bennet stayed at Berry and Jude’s house and had a very refreshing supper accompanied by interesting and educational conversations. Berry used to own a farm but now drives his livestock truck named “Sausage Dog.” For supper they had a bird right out of the yard and Berry was very proud with how big the bird was. It was a very delicious supper, along with homemade granola for breakfast before they set out upon the hills for a scenic overlook of New Zealand on the way back to the bus.

Kelly and Kathryn
Kelly and Kathryn stayed with Allen and Claire Bruce, where they enjoyed a wonderful night of dinner, and talking with Allen, Claire, and their daughter. They were fed a lovely dinner of lamb raised on their farm, vegetables, and apple pie for dessert. Allen and Claire (along with the help of their daughter) run a sheep and beef farm, where they have 100 Angus cows and 2,000 Romney sheep on 450 hectares. Kelly and Kathryn were given the opportunity to tour their farm in the morning and see a few different sights. This included the exhibition of their daughter’s herding dogs working and seeing some of the dogs in training.

Meagan, Katelyn J, Devin, and Jessica
Devin, Jessica, Katelyn, and Meagan stayed at Dick and Sue’s house and learned about their dairy and sheep operation. They have three children with one grandchild on the way. When the ladies first arrived they had lasagna and salad that Sue had made along with a great conversation. The farm is a fourth generation farm with one of their sons working on the farm today. They have about 900 Kiwi cross cattle which is the perfect size for their milking shed. They have 3 dairy farm sheds, two near the house and the sheep pastures also being close. They have a double 44 swing herring bone and a 20 swing herring bone parlor. At one point in the summer they can have up to 5,000 sheep. They are planting trees to prevent landslides on their steep slopes, and also are keeping their animals away from waterways to prevent pollution. They also have about 4,000 acres of pasture that they run their sheep and cattle on.

Kirby and Jason
Kirby and Jason spent their evening with Dave and Maureen Smith. Dave and Maureen are the owners of Holly Farms. On the farm they have a Romney sheep stud. At any one time they will have 1,000 ewes to go along with the rams that they market to other farms. In addition to the sheep, they have some Angus cattle which are another income stream, but more importantly they maintain the pasture quality for the sheep. Both of their adult children live on farm, one of which is a full time employee on the farm, the other is a pilot and engineer. They had a beautiful property on top of the hill that overlooked their farm. It was a great stay with a lot of conversation about life in New Zealand, life in the United States, and their farm.

 Angel and Sam
Sam and Angel stayed with Mark and Di Gilmore on their small 70 acre farm. Mark used to run his own veterinary service and now he raises some fat calves that he buys from local dairy operations and finishes them.  He also has some ewes and raises up lambs. We were able to visit about their life, differences between the United States and New Zealand, and politics. We also got to meet their daughter Kate. Di made an amazing meal for us, along with a great chocolate tart. In the morning we were able to go walk around their property, where they showed us there animals and the country side.  It was a great time and we did not want to leave.

Rob, Seth, Jacob, and Kadem
Jacob, Seth, Robert, and Kadem stayed with Jill and Charles Simpson on their beef and lamb farm. They finish lambs and dairy bulls on pasture and grow about 25 acres of corn. Charles and Jill are retired. They have two sons, in which one of them runs a contracting business doing farming operations for area farmers. Their other son runs their farm. Jill was a very good host, she served us lamb shoulder with potatoes, broccoli, and sweet potatoes. Charles drove us around their farm the next morning, showing us the various paddocks they graze lambs and cattle on. We visited with them about livestock and crop production, as well as hunting and other recreation in New Zealand.

Kylie, Ashley, and Julie
Kylie, Ashley, and Julie stayed with Sally and Brian Homerton on their small sheep farm. They had a beautiful home that was built in 1910 with large vaulted ceilings and wood burning fireplaces in the living room and kitchen. Sally works in town as a salesman for the Fonterra store. Brian works occasionally for the dairy across the street. Sally and Brian also own a dairy farm in another location that their son sharemilks at for a 50-50 sharemilking operation. When we first arrived we had to opportunity to help feed the calves. We had an amazing supper of roast lamb, potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, and peas. After supper we stayed up and talked for a while before bed. When we got up the next morning Brian had a large breakfast of bacon and eggs ready for us. After breakfast we stopped across the road and visited the dairy that Brian works at. While there we had the opportunity to try farm fresh milk from their bulk tank. We then went into town to visit Sally at work at Farm Source, one of Fonterra’s farm stores.

Seth taking a nap after a busy day and good lunch.
We met up again as a large group at 10 a.m. this morning. We traveled to Marton where we stopped for coffee and a restroom break. After that we traveled to Te Papa, where we had lunch at our own leisure. Many people enjoyed the scenery on pier and others visited a local museum.

Our professors Julie and Ben are enjoying New Zealand.
After the lunch break, we made our way toward the home offices of Beef + Lamb New Zealand.  This organization is essentially the equivalent to Beef Checkoff and Lamb Checkoff in the United States. Rob Davison, the executive director at Beef + Lamb New Zealand, gave an overview of the beef and sheep industries in New Zealand and how those industries relate to world production. New Zealand exports most of their meat and dairy production, so their prices reflect international prices rather than domestic.  

After our brief overview, we journeyed to the Wellington Airport where we would be transferring from the North Island of New Zealand to the South Island for the second half of our experience. We said our reluctant goodbyes to our bus driver, Maury, who had been with us through the first part of the trip.  

Enjoyed a sunset on our flight to Christchurch

Our flight from Wellington (North Island) to Christchurch (South Island) was very quick and on a rather smaller plane than many of us were used to flying on. We traveled from Christchurch to Ashburton, where we will have a late dinner and spend the night.
-Devin and Kelly


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