South Otago family typify the generosity of farmers.
Lyndon McNab remembers the day when his grandfather taught him to craft a manuka walking stick, before traversing the rugged rocky outcrops of their farmland – a lesson and journey that symbolises the enduring tradition of supporting others by the McNab family.
Jade and Lyndon McNab’s 3200-hectare farm can be found on the tough hill country between Balclutha and Owaka in South Otago, where it has been home to three generations of their family. Stocked with around 6000 ewes and 700 beef cattle, it’s not just the scale of their operation that stands out, but their dedication to giving back.
They are a part of Meat The Need, a charity devised by farmers and supported by founding partner Silver Fern Farms which provides Kiwis in need with access to quality red meat, collaborating with farmers who donate livestock.
That day with his grandfather is still lodged in Lyndon’s mind; he remains passionate about his community and the evolving complexities of farming – and hopes his children, witnessing his parents’ commitment, will inherit this motivation.
“We’re fortunate, and I’ve always felt the need to earn and repay that privilege,” he says. The couple had long contemplated the idea of donating animal protein to food banks but faced challenges navigating the Food Safety Act. Then they received an email from Silver Fern Farms that introduced Meat the Need.
Realising the initiative had already addressed the food safety concerns, Lyndon and Jade jumped on board: “When we found out about Meat The Need, we were pretty chuffed and started making donations,” he says.
Since 2020, they’ve contributed 6000 mince meals in partnership with Silver Fern Farms, with the charity donating nearly two million milk meals and over 1.2 million mince meals over 2023.
The McNabs’ generosity doesn’t stop at their donations. The couple has also volunteered their time as Champions of the charity, spreading the word about the noble cause.
“Farmers have a unique opportunity to make a difference,” says Lyndon. “The idea of providing animal protein to food banks resonated with us. Through Meat the Need, we can donate something that physically comes from our business.”
He underscores the value of farmers’ charity: “Even when we’re struggling, we still have food in the freezer. Others aren’t so fortunate. Meat the Need directs every donation straight to feeding families.”
As the annual rural telethon, “The Big Feed”, approaches on December 14, the McNabs are throwing their weight behind that too.
The telethon promises to be an eventful day filled with live challenges, celebrity appearances and more. Lyndon says he knows the economy hasn’t always been kind to farmers but urges fellow farmers to give: “When our income drops a bit, those on minimum wage jobs feel the rising costs much more acutely.”
By donating to Meat The Need, every packet of mince and bottle of milk becomes crucial support for needy families, ensuring no New Zealander goes hungry.
To learn more about Meat the Need or to make a donation, visit their website or join them at The Big Feed on December 14.
For more information go to Meat the Need