Hawke’s Bay farmer and Farmers Weekly columnist Steve Wyn-Harris has been made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the King’s Birthday Honours.
The citation said he is an advocate for sustainable farming practices and has worked to raise awareness of farmers’ wellbeing in rural Hawke’s Bay.
Off the farm, Wyn-Harris has been a rural communicator for three decades, writing a weekly column and presenting The Cockies Hour on Central FM, Waipukurau, twice a week.
A self-confessed “hustler”, he has never missed a deadline and always managed to fit in urgent farming tasks with his off-farm duties.
Feedback from readers and listeners has been very positive and supportive, encouraging him to continue until now.
When he stops being a full-time sheep and beef farmer on July 1 he will also stop writing the From the Ridge column in Farmers Weekly.
Wyn-Harris was a director of Pāmu Farms of New Zealand (formerly Landcorp) from 2002 to 2008 and Farmlands Co-Operative for nine years.
He was awarded the Landcorp Agricultural Communicator of the Year in 2012, Hawke’s Bay Farm Forester of the Year in 2013 and Richmond Hawke’s Bay Farmer of the Year in 1994.
Steve and Jane Wyn-Harris were the inaugural East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Supreme Award winners in 2011 and they won the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Environmental Award in 1999.
“I am primarily a shepherd and have spent 40 years out on the farm so perhaps this can be seen as a recognition for all those doing the hard work on the ground that will never be awarded an honour, but doing important work for the country all the same.
“My wife Jane has been brilliant. We have built a successful farming business together and raised three great sons.
“And then there are all the others ranging from editors, stock agents, accountants, lawyers, bankers, company reps and friends who have always supported me through good times and tough.”