A neighbourly gesture will allow Hawke's Bay's Smedley Station and Cadet Training Farm to expand in the coming months.
The agricultural institution is well known for delivering quality hands-on training for some of New Zealand's up and coming farmers. A recent purchase of the neighbouring land means the station can increase its cadet intake and expand farming operations.
Smedley Advisory Board chairman Pat Portas says the purchase has been made possible by vendors Stephen and Charlotte Wilson, who have owned and farmed the acquired property known as Parks Peak for more than 30 years.
"They see the benefit Smedley Station delivers for the wider agricultural industry and their decision to offer us their land for purchase will impact many. For this property to come available right on our boundary is extremely exciting for the future of the station," says Portas.
"Smedley Station is growing the next generation of farmers and is an inherent part of our country's farming industry. This expansion is not only good news for every cadet who passes through the station gates, but also great news for New Zealand's agricultural future."
Tony Shea, senior trust officer Rural Properties at Public Trust, which administers Smedley Station on behalf of the Crown, says the expansion is a win for New Zealand's farming sector as a whole.
"Smedley Station has a long and positive track history, and this deal is testament to the sound business practice behind the operation," says Shea.
Smedley Station will expand by 532ha to just over 5500ha. The new land is adjacent to the current station across the Makaroro River.
Smedley Station and Cadet Training Farm has been a part of New Zealand's agricultural landscape for close to 90 years. The farm was originally owned by Josiah Howard and bequeathed to the King on his death in 1919, to be used for the agricultural training of young farmers.
It is now held in trust for the Crown, as a permanent endowment for agricultural education. The first training course opened in 1931, and since then, more than 600 young farmers have graduated.
Smedley Station operates as a commercial farm, running sheep, cattle and deer. It is self-funding, with cadets attending free and receiving a small bursary.
The station is run by on-farm manager Rob Evans, who is responsible for theoretical and practical cadet training.
Evans says the additional land provides a number of benefits for cadets, and the training programme.
"It means we can train more cadets, and that's more young people into agriculture. We'll also be adding another team member to run the block.
"Our programme is unique in the level of one-on-one training, and more land means more training without diluting the quality we're known for.
"It also gives us more flexibility in stock levels, pushing us up over 30,000 stock units. The new land, which will be run as a stand-alone unit, mixes in well and complements what we already have."
Associate Minister of Justice, Aupito William Sio, responsible for the Public Trust, provided the consent for the purchase of the extra land.
"The additional land will provide a great opportunity to increase the number of cadets into the agricultural training course," he says.
Demand for places at Smedley Station is high, and each year, around 80 applications nationwide are received from 16 to 18-year-olds for the limited places.
Over the two-year cadetship they are exposed to every aspect of sheep, cattle and deer farming. They undertake a diverse programme from traditional stockmanship to the latest in farming technologies and core business components.