Newly-crowned Share Farmers of the Year Sarah and Aidan Stevenson are looking forward to their leadership roles over the next 12 months.
Bertram says he’s very embarrassed about the “tongue-in-cheek jokes”.
“On the most controversial tweet I did comment at the time further down in the thread ‘To make it clear this not a practise that we do and I am stirring the Pot’.
“This is definitely not a practice which we do and does not reflect the level of respect that I have for my animals. However, I now understand this is a highly inappropriate thing to post on social media.
“I took a year off twitter to focus on the family and I have been back on twitter for just over a year now. Looking back on my tweets I am embarrassed and ashamed to have tweeted something like that. I now have a far better understanding of social media, realising that twitter is a very public forum.
“Animal health and wellbeing is a huge focus of our operation and those tweets did not reflect that.”
Bertram says he would welcome anybody to his farm, “who would like to view our operation to see how we treat our animal and the high level of respect we show them”.
Animal welfare group SAFE today released a statement highlighting “profanity-laden” tweets from Bertram’s twitter account. One described the cruel and illegal methods he uses to handle his cows, which he called ‘bitches.’
It called on NZ Dairy Industry Awards (NZDIA) to strip Bertram of his award.
NZDIA Trust chair Natasha Tere says they have been made aware of “historical comments” made by Bertram and are investigating.
Tere says NZDIA follows a robust and thorough judging process based on what is happening on-farm today.
“Entrants are judged on information presented and on the farming practices the person follows currently,” she says.
“Judges do not look for and are not aware of historical social media comments.”