web banner fallow bw

Hawkes Bay farmers win premier deer environmental award

May 26, 2021

The winners of the 2021 Elworthy Award, the premier environmental accolade for deer farmers, are Grant and Sally Charteris, Forest Road Farm, Central Hawkes Bay. The award was presented at the Deer Industry Conference in Invercargill earlier this month.

Central Hawkes Bay deer farmers Grant and Sally Charteris, winners of the 2021 Elworthy Award, the premier environmental accolade for deer farmers

This is the second Elworthy Award in a row to be awarded to a Hawkes Bay farm. The previous winners were Evan and Linda Potter of Elsthorpe. More recently, the Potters been recognised as the winners of the 2020 East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards. They also won the Gordon Stephenson Trophy, a national award in which recipients become ambassadors for sustainable farming.

Lead judge, Janet Gregory, said the eight entrants in the biennial deer environmental awards had many things in common: active farm environment and business plans and involvement in the deer industry’s productivity and environmental activities.

“All are leaders in the industry, show great passion and stewardship of the land, and are supporting their local communities. Many of them have calculated their greenhouse gas emissions or are planning to do so,” she said.

“All were of exceptional standard, separated from each other by the narrowest of margins. But the Charterises were notable for their meticulous planning, documentation and analysis. This informs their stock and feed management in their district’s challenging climate.

Lead judge Janet Gregory

“Their Forest Road Farm is a 327-hectare red deer stud and velvet operation which also runs some beef cattle and Wiltshire sheep. It’s a great example of a sustainable farming business where the environment is being progressively protected and enhanced, with gullies and streambanks fenced off and planted in trees to reduce soil erosion and to minimise sediment run-off.”

The couple have planted more than 15,000 native trees over the past three years on the 327-hectare rolling to steep hill country property. More tree planting is planned.  

“Soil protection is a key focus of everything they do. For example, care is taken when selecting paddocks for cropping and buffer strips of non-cultivated land are left alongside gullies. Break feeding of crops is avoided and high grass covers are maintained on pasture,” Gregory said.

As well as winning the premier Elworthy Environmental Award sponsored by SP Corporation and Dr Gyong Jai Lee, a major South Korean marketer of NZ deer velvet, the Charterises won a further new category award created and also sponsored by the SP Corporation. The Dr Gyong Jai Lee Award is for ‘leading, environmentally sustainable, velvet farming’.

Award convenor Dr Lindsay Fung, says this is the first time a deer industry environmental award has been sponsored by an overseas customer. “It underlines the importance of sustainability to consumers of NZ deer products in Asia as well as in other markets and we are thrilled to have this level of interest and support of these awards.”

The other category winners in the awards were: Arawata Deer Farm, Pine Bush, Southland; Three Rivers Ag, Otorohanga; Goudies Station, Central North Island; Balquidder, Taihape and Wharerata Farm, Featherston, Wairarapa.

John and Mel Somerville, Arawata Deer Farm, were awarded the Duncan New Zealand Award for "forward thinking and innovative farm practices while operating their business within a demanding environment."

Mike Ferrier, manager, Three Rivers Ag, (owners: William and Karen Oliver) won the Gallagher Technology and Innovation Award ‘for utilisation of farming technologies to improve productivity and manage resources’. Tim Bowron, manager and Chris Smith, deer manager of Pamu’s Goudies Station won the First Light Foods Award ‘for total commitment to farming sustainably with a strong customer focus.’

Andrew and Pam Peters, Balquhidder, won the NZ Landcare Trust Award ‘for excellence in sustainable deer farming through action on the ground’. Sophie Atkinson, Wharerata Farm (owner: Heather Atkinson Family Trust), won the NZDFA Next Generation Award ‘for outstanding performance across environmental, financial and social aspects of the business’.

Tony, Michelle and Kate Roberts, Maitland, Southland and John and Mary Falconer, Ranfurly, Otago were strong contenders in several of the award categories further emphasising the high calibre of all of the entrants and an indication of the lifting of environmental standards across the industry since the awards inception in 2001.

The judges were Janet Gregory (lead judge); Deer Industry NZ (DINZ) environmental stewardship manager, Lindsay Fung; DINZ producer manager Tony Pearse; and Evan Potter, winner (with Linda), of the 2019 Elworthy Environmental Award & Gordon Stephenson Trophy.

Deer Farming Environmental Awards 2021: Judges’ Key Points

Grant & Sally Charteris, Forest Road Farm, Central Hawkes Bay
John & Mel Somerville, Arawata Deer, Pine Bush, Southland
Mike Ferrier, Manager, Three Rivers Ag Ltd, Otorohanga
Tim Bowron, Manager, Goudies Station, Reporoa
Andrew & Pam Peters, Balquhidder, Taihape
Sophie Atkinson, Wharerata Farm, Featherston
Tony, Michelle and Kate Roberts, Top Deck Trading, Maitland, Southland
John & Mary Falconer, Clachanburn, Ranfurly, Otago
Back to Industry News