Thursday, 07 March 2024 14:55

Unique dairy farms open their gates

Written by  Staff Reporters
•	Donald’s Farm manager Sam Waugh shows schoolchildren how a herringbone milking system works, inside the cowshed. • Donald’s Farm manager Sam Waugh shows schoolchildren how a herringbone milking system works, inside the cowshed.

A dairy farm working to increase endangered skink numbers and a boutique farm selling milk in recycled bottles will open their gates to the public this Sunday.

DairyNZ general manager Alyce Butler says Open Farms is a great opportunity for people from towns and cities to get insights into dairy farming and where their dairy products come from.

“It’s great for Kiwis to check out the beautiful farm landscapes, see cows close up and get a glimpse of what it’s like living and working on a farm. Kids really love it!” Butler says.

Open Farms founder Daniel Eb says the annual initiative is about connecting urban Kiwis with the people and places that grow their food.

Now in its fourth year, the initiative has seen approximately 10,000 visitors take part in more than 100 Open Farms events.

State-owned enterprise Pāmu is looking forward to welcoming the public to their Eyrewell dairy farm in Canterbury.

Pāmu chief executive Mark Leslie says Pāmu farmers are embedded in their local communities and enjoy showing the public what they do.

The farm has a unique project underway working with conservation organisations and local schools to enhance habitat for at-risk Canterbury grass skinks and native McCann’s skinks.

“Eyrewell and the skink habitat restoration project are a great example of us striving to balance farming excellence with nurturing the environment,” Leslie says.

Dreamview Creamery is a Raglan farm owned by the Hill family, with 120 milking dairy cows.

Jess Hill manages the farm and says she loves working outdoors with animals.

She says Open Farms is a fun event and hopes that showing people around the farm will encourage them to consider a farming future.

The family sells milk in recycled bottles and donates milk to Raglan Area School for the children. The family have planted native trees on the farm and will plant more.

“We’re always looking at ways to make our farm business more sustainable,” Hill says.

Donald’s farm in Whitford is also joining the national Open Farms initiative where a number of farmers of all types welcome the public onto their properties to learn about agriculture. The farm is dedicated to teaching Auckland children about the primary sector and nature.

The farm, owned by NZ Young Farmers, is approximately 30 minutes’ drive from Auckland.

It doubles as a working dairy farm and outdoor classroom. Last year, the farm hosted 900 primary and secondary school visitors to learn about the primary sector and get involved in environmental initiatives on the farm.

“With Open Farms, it’s awesome showing people around the farm to learn how milk goes from grass to glass and to learn about career opportunities in the primary sector,” Donald’s Farm manager Sam Waugh says.

“I highly recommend farming as a great lifestyle for people of all ages and families,” he says.

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