Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Honoured for building up a new industry

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Station manager Paddy Boyd and his wife Barbara were given life membership of the New Zealand Deer Farmers’ Association.
‘Give it a go for three years’ has stretched to 40 years for Barbara and Paddy Boyd on Haldon Station in the Mackenzie country.
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This article is part of Famers Weekly’s annual Land Champions series. Read the full series here.

Paddy Boyd’s contribution to the deer industry has been described as “insurmountable”.

Paddy and his wife Barbara, of Haldon Station in the Mackenzie country, were recently bestowed life membership of the New Zealand Deer Farmers’ association (NZDFA) in recognition of many decades of contribution to the industry.

He said his industry involvement has been driven by passion and a desire for the farmers’ voice to be heard.  

“Insurmountable contribution deserved of recognition” sums up the citation of a man who has played many a leading role in the development of the deer industry, from being at the forefront of live capture in the early days of deer farming to bringing the Passion 2 Profit programme into existence as a key member of the productivity leadership group.   

Driven by his passion for deer, Paddy’s involvement has been across numerous industry groups including as chair of the NZDFA Selection and Appointment Panel (SAP), in quality assurance, the Cervena strategy, velveting standards, genetic improvement and environmental standards, Tb eradication and OSPRI governance.

He is a firm advocate for all products produced by the deer industry as well as being an enthusiastic advocate for people.

“I was a bit taken back when I realised what it was all about,” Paddy said of the life membership presentation.

“I just do what I’m a firm believer of and that’s the farmers’ voice.”

He said he has often been a voice for those farmers who prefer not to front at industry events but are passionate deer farmers in their own right and whose views and wishes need to be understood.

He has worn many hats in representing a large number of farming entities over the past 35 years, from sheep and fine wool to beef and deer farming. He has a passion for them all, giving 100% to any role he takes on. 

“I’ve always been there to fight for the farmer as I want farmers’ point of view being considered around a board table,” he said.

He has been asked to stand for the board, but it has not appealed, well not yet.

“On the board you have to be 100% committed and it would burn up a lot of my time that I still need for elsewhere.

“It may be an option in the future when I find a bit of spare time.”

Meanwhile there can be very few, if any, large scale properties in the country like Haldon Station, where there have been more owners than managers.

Haldon has only had two different owners in the past 45 years, and Paddy has been there right through that time. 

Recalled in a recently published book on Haldon Station, Barbara told her husband of just 18 months as they sped down the rough shingle road into Haldon: “If it’s any further than this, I don’t want to live here.” 

“Just a bit further,” Paddy replied.

By the time they had driven another 30-odd kilometres, Barbara had firmly decided this was not the place for her – but the day wasn’t over.

They were met by owner James Innes and flown over the property in a helicopter.

There was a lot to consider as they made the long drive home to Kaikoura.

Paddy suggested they give it a go for three years. The young couple moved to Haldon in 1982.

While they waited for their allocated house the roof over their head was a concrete hut transformed into a bedroom.

The first four weeks were rough for Barbara, from Christchurch. She was homesick, her goldfish and plants died and rodents could be heard in the rafters above them at night.

“The rest, as they say, is history,” Paddy said.

“Give it a go for three years” grew to 40 years and while there have been bleak times, they are overshadowed by the many happy memories and farming achievements. 

Under Paddy’s management Haldon Station has gone from being a pioneer of large-scale deer farming to become the public face of deer farming excellence.

Haldon has been a supreme winner in the Ballance Farm Environment Awards and a winner in the Deer Industry NZ (DINZ) environmental awards.

In 2014 Paddy was awarded the DINZ’s top deer award in recognition of many years’ service.        

He acknowledged Barbara’s involvement in both Haldon Station’s business administration and his deer industry work.

“I used to be hopeless with a computer, I would scribble things out and she would write it up. I have got better, though.”   

Paddy attributed much of the station’s development and achievements to Auckland-based Han and Jenny Klisser, former owners of Vogel bread, who purchased Haldon in 1991.

“They had no farming knowledge and asked us to stay on for three or four years. They were very good people to work for and allowed me to have my own vision.”

They wanted all the income from the station to be reinvested in development to make Haldon a model farm that will always provide excellent food and fibre for NZ and the world.

“I could do what I wanted as long as it stacked up. They were very good to us and gave us every opportunity, including many overseas trips to look at farming practices, bring in genetics, attend conferences and achieve what we have here at Haldon today.”

Sadly, Han died last month at the age of 95, but Jenny, 92, supported by her family, remains a “strong matriarch”, and the Klisser family has no plan to sell Haldon at this stage, Paddy said.

While Paddy and Barbara are looking ahead to their retirement and a new home on their smallholding near Pleasant Point in South Canterbury, they have agreed to stay on at Haldon meantime.

“We are looking at our future; as long as I am here, I will get up and go out to work every day. I need to consider retirement and more time with family,” Paddy said.

“We are meeting with an architect to design our new home and then I can just come back and oversee Haldon as long as I can.”