Wednesday, April 24, 2024

High Peak comes out on top at Ballance awards 

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Eight-way partnership running four different businesses scores first prize.
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The Guild and Dunbar families of High Peak Station have won the Regional Supreme Award at the Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

High Peak Station has traditional farm roots, but has diversified in recent years to include a wide range of income streams to add value to the farming operation.

The 3760 hectare (3450ha effective) property is managed by an eight-way partnership that runs four different businesses. 

The partnership is comprised of the Guilds – James, Anna, Hamish, Gemma, Simon and Kate – and Amelia and Tom Dunbar.

The judges noted that strategic planning, spanning multiple generations, has not only enhanced the core business but has also resulted in successful diversification. 

There’s a strong focus on adding value to all the enterprises, with the team striving toward high-end products and experiences. 

Almost half of High Peak Station’s income is derived from tourism, with the remainder split between sheep, cattle, deer and honey.

James and Anna have been at the property since 1973. Their children Simon, Hamish and Amelia became actively involved in the business 30 years later.  Each family member brings different strengths to the table, which has ensured a sustainable and robust business. 

The judges were particularly impressed with James’s forward-looking approach to regulation, and Hamish’s vast knowledge of the property’s soil, topography and how winter grazing is managed.

Protecting and enhancing the environment is another priority. Natural wetlands, QEII National Trust covenant areas, and riparian corridors are all well protected – creating an environment that is rich with biodiversity.

In awarding the Regional Supreme Award, the judges noted that High Peak Station is one of the most diverse high-country businesses they have encountered, with the Guild and Dunbar families being true guardians of the land who champion environmental stewardship and advocate for sustainable farming practices.

The Guild and Dunbar families also won the following awards:

• Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Farm Award

• Rabobank Agri-Business Management Award

• NZFET Biodiversity Award

• NZFET Climate Recognition Award

• Environment Canterbury Water Quality Award

Other Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Award winners include:

John Wright and Richard Green — Wainono Dairy, Fairlie

• Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award

• DairyNZ Sustainability and Stewardship Award

Andrew and Peter Gilchrist — Gilchrist Brothers, Swannanoa

• Hill Laboratories Agri-Science Award

• Norwood Farming Efficiency Award

• NZFET Innovation Award

Sam and Jo Spencer-Bower — Claxby Estate, Swannanoa

• Bayleys People in Primary Sector Award

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