Well done to Hugh and Sharon Ritchie – Hawke’s Bay Farmers of the Year.
I’ve just been writing about Hugh lately as I am doing the Nuffield NZ newsletter and he has just retired after 12 years as a trustee (we also went through Young Farmers together, although I hasten to add he is older than me!!! Hugh, Shane Tilson and I won a national debating final in 1995!)
So last night (back to the important news) they were awarded the prestigious Silver Fern Farms Hawke’s Bay Farmer of the Year title in front of 350 people at a dinner at Showgrounds Hawke’s Bay (well done on great night Hillary).
It’s the second time for the Drumpeel Road farm near Otane (north of Waipawa…. south of Hastings). - Hugh’s father David won it in 1990 (I only came here in 1993 so the first one I remember is Steve Wyn-Harris in 1994 and now I live in the same district).
The official quote from the organisers: “This is a large-scale business both in livestock and cropping using the very latest technology to make efficiency gains in production and optimise profitability with the better land competing with dairy returns. All this is achieved with a strong focus on sustainable farming and a passion for the environment and his soils”.
Hugh and Sharon will be hosting a field day on May 8.
Third year Lincoln University student Patrick Crawshaw was given the Lawson Robinson Hawke’s Bay A&P Society Scholarship to recognise outstanding academic and leadership qualities in a student currently enrolled in a land based study programme. He gave an excellent speech and by all accounts, like last year’s winner Rowan Sandford, he will be a name recognised in farming circles for many years to come.
Mike Barham was awarded the Laurie Dowling Memorial Award for outstanding contribution to agriculture in Hawke’s Bay. He had five extremely busy years with the East Coast Rural Support Trust and it was this position that has earned him this award – through several tough and tight drought years including coordinating feed into the North Island, and the April weather bomb that hit the coast from Porangahau to Ocean Beach in 2011.
The Pan Pac Hawke’s Bay Farm Foresters of the Year, Hugh and Di McBain, also from near Otane, will host a field day at their property on the 24 May 2014.