Lower North Island farmers have raised $131,695 for IHC through the IHC Calf and Rural Scheme in the past 12 months, with 280 of the region's farmers donating to the scheme.

The region's contribution was part of the $1.4 million raised nationally by rural New Zealand to support people with intellectual disabilities.

More than 3500 farmers throughout New Zealand have pledged 4341 calves, including virtual calves, to be sold on IHC's behalf.

Maria Barrow (Dannevirke) won the eight to 12 years age group in the rural photo competition.
Maria Barrow (Dannevirke) won the eight to 12 years age group in the rural photo competition.

"IHC is so incredibly grateful to farmers in the Lower North Island and nationally, who supported the Calf and Rural Scheme this year, and for their ongoing loyalty to the scheme since it began 33 years ago," says Greg Millar, IHC National Manager Fundraising.

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More than $35 million has been raised through the scheme for New Zealanders with intellectual disabilities since its inception in 1985.

"The money raised is very important to the work IHC is able to do to each year, but the support of farmers and rural communities has always been much more than the money.

"Each and every year, these generous farmers have joined together with IHC to support people with intellectual disabilities to live active and satisfying lives in the community," says Greg.

For 30 of those years the Calf and Rural Scheme has also enjoyed the proud support of PGG Wrightson — one of New Zealand's longest standing corporate sponsorships of charity.

"Thank you again to all our farmers, canvassers, community groups as well as our transporters for all their hard work and support over the 2017/18 season, and we look forward to your continued support next season," says Greg.

IHC announced winners of the Calf and Rural Scheme's rural photo competition run every year alongside the scheme.Seven Years and Younger: Nyla Lauridsen (Te Awamutu); 8-12 Years: Maria Barrow (Dannevirke); 13-18 Years: Anne Barrow (Dannevirke); 18+ years: Michele van Zyl (Gore).