Wednesday, May 22, 2024

South Canterbury family serves up 12,000 meals for Kiwis in need

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McKerchars of Cave donate proceeds of ‘one of their best bulls’ to Meat the Need for four years running.
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A South Canterbury family’s ongoing support of Meat the Need has seen almost 12,000 meals donated to food banks across the country. 

Shrimpton’s Hill Herefords at Cave has donated the proceeds of one bull in its annual bull sale since the charity was established in 2020. 

Its 2023 sale last week was its fourth year in a row, with Lot One selling for $3000 –  equivalent to almost 3000 meals.

Liz and John McKerchar said being able to donate is a really positive thing for their whole family. 

“We get a lot of pleasure from being able to do it, it’s a jolly good cause,” Liz said. 

Meat the Need co-founder Wayne Langford said he is incredibly grateful for the ongoing support from the McKerchar family.

“They don’t just donate an average bull. Every year at the Shrimpton’s Hill Hereford bull sale, it’s been one of the best bulls in the category, every time,” he said. 

“John, Liz, Abby and Hamish are such an important part of the Meat the Need family. It’s been a bloody tough few years on farm for everyone but having raised enough money to donate 12,000 meals is a huge achievement. They’re making a massive difference to families across the country.” 

Liz said they were blown away to see the contribution they had made when it was broken down into meal value. 

“It’s very, very hard to comprehend to be quite honest. You just can’t quite imagine that many packets of mince,” she said. 

“It’s just fabulous and we’re thrilled it’s of use and benefitting so many people, it’s incredible.” 

Shrimpton’s Hill Herefords was founded in 1969 by John’s father and since then the family-owned stud has become the leader in breeding short gestation Herefords in the Australasian market. 

Running around 8000 stock units that are mostly Herefords, they also have Border Leicester ewes, one of the oldest flocks of sheep breeds in the country that is still in the same family. 

Liz and John run the farm alongside son Hamish, who is a helicopter pilot, and his wife Abby, a personal trainer and sports nutritionist. 

The pair are keen to take the stud forward and have not only initiated a strong programme using single sexed semen, but Abby has converted the woolshed into a gym where she runs in-person and online classes. 

They’re also focusing on hitting intramuscular fat as a trait with their Herefords, and want to breed the best marbling ability possible. 

Shrimpton’s Hill Herefords has also sponsored the Canterbury North Otago Dairy Awards for 17 years, which Liz said has provided the opportunity to meet and interact with enthusiastic young farmers from all walks of life. 

This was where the family was first introduced to Meat the Need co-founder Siobhan O’Malley and husband Chris in 2017 when they took out the Share Farmer of the Year category. 

“It was Siobhan who drew my attention to the charity when it launched in 2020 and I remember messaging her and saying ‘We don’t really kill anything but what if we gave the proceeds of the bull, would that help you out at all?’” Liz said. 

“It’s well worth getting involved and it’s very satisfying to be able to help fellow New Zealanders in these tough times. There’s always someone worse off that needs looking after.” 

Liz’s message for other farmers across the country when it comes to donating to Meat the Need: “Definitely do it, as best you can … being able to make a difference is truly amazing.”

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