Director elections for Beef + Lamb New Zealand's Western North Island electorate will be held on Friday, March 15. Scott Gower of Ohura is one of two farmers from the ward to stand and replace outgoing director Kirsten Bryant who is not seeking re-election. Voting papers were posted February 11. Here Gower gives insight into his background and aspirations for the future.
My name is Scott Gower and I am standing for the upcoming western NI Beef and Lamb NZ director election.
I am a third generation hill country sheep and beef farmer from Ohura, in the King Country.
My grandfather came up from Whanganui on the paddleboat steamer to Taumarunui, disembarking at the Ohura Falls. He eventually obtained his own block, built himself a punga hut, and set out to develop, farm, and expand his holdings.
My father took on farming his first block of around 200ha in the Ohura Valley, while taking every opportunity to acquire and develop new properties. With this sort of background, and as my grandmother used to say — we had 'mud in our blood' — I was destined to become a farmer myself.
With my wife, Robyn, we have grown our own farming business through expansion and development to over 1300ha. High Glades is a breeding, finishing and store property with a ewe flock of approximately 6000 lambing at over 150 per cent, supported by an Angus beef cow herd.
High Glades is part of a larger family farming business now comprising of over 60,000 sheep and beef stock units, all in the Ohura area.
Obviously pastural livestock farming, and it's profitable and sustainable future, is very important to my family and I.
In 2002 we became involved in the Meat and Wool NZ Monitor Farm program, completing a successful four year stint as monitor farmers ourselves. I was then the chairman of the succeeding regional monitor farm for a further three years.
In 2006 I was elected to the Ravensdown Board of Directors.
This was a very steep learning curve for a farmer from the King Country, but 12 years on the Ravensdown board has enabled me to build my governance experience to a very high level.
Through Ravensdown I've also been given the opportunity to meet many extraordinary and interesting people in the wider agricultural community, and have developed a strong network outside the farm gate.
I believe this, as well as the experience I've gained, would stand me in good stead if successfully elected to B+LNZ; and as I retire from Ravensdown next September I'll have the ability to fully focus my skills within this organisation.
New Zealand pastural farming has been under attack for a number of years. We need industry-led organisations who will stand up for our right to be able to produce food profitably now and into the future — who at the same time can work cohesively with the regulatory bodies.
I am making myself available for the B+LNZ board because I believe it is are such an organisation.