Elle and Simon Joblin were thrilled to be named Rural Aerial Co-operative Tararua Farm Business of the Year in a ceremony held at Vet Services Dannevirke on Wednesday March 28.
Speaking to guests, which included four judges — all past winners of the competition — sponsors, contestants and other industry representatives, chairman of the Tararua Sheep and Beef committee Dan Billing said the event promoted exceptional farm businesses and the opportunity to learn and network for entrants.
It was not easy for entrants to lay their businesses bare and open to scrutiny, but they proved there are "awesome red meat businesses in the Tararua".
Chief sponsor Neil Cresswell of Rural Aerial Co-operative said he was proud his company was associated with the event. It was an excellent opportunity to get the name out as the only local fixed wing fertiliser operator based in Tararua.
Judge Pete Swinburn said the competition celebrated the successful practices of all entrants and the winners should be held up as exemplars. Judges were impressed by their team approach and critical thinking.
Presenting Elle and Simon Joblin with the winner's plate, he said the judges were impressed with their clear goal setting, team approach, willingness to use outside expertise and their balanced approach to work/life.
In the Waitahora Valley the Joblins have operated Greenhill Station for eight years, setting up a limited liability company with Charlie and Karla Matthews, fifth generation sheep and beef farmers in the South Wairarapa.
Both Elle and Simon had come from farming backgrounds, Elle in the high country of the South Island and Simon in the lower North Island. Both had completed diplomas in farm and business management before meeting and working for three years on Castlepoint Station where Simon was stock manager.
After six years on Simon's home farm at Te Awa near Masterton it was time for a change and the couple sought an equity partnership.
Having linked up with the Matthews they began an intensive search for a property which ticked their five wish-list boxes — climate, soil type, contour, locality to school and service centre, and not bisected by roads or rivers.
They found Greenhill Station and after a successful tender they also bought the adjacent Dickie property which brought the property up to 1100ha. The property was ready to be farmed, Simon said, with good infrastructure, good pastures and a reasonably easy integration process.
Over the years the farm business has prospered.
There has been huge investment of time and money in infrastructure — new fencing, new satellite yards, new or renewed dams and new water troughs.
A major cropping programme with 150ha in predominantly red clover, and application of three tonnes of lime per hectare means the station can finish its lambs from 5500 stabilised Romney/Texel ewes, in-lamb hoggets and others purchased from outside. It runs 250 Angus and Hereford cross breeding cows.
The station employs a shepherd who lives in the other farmhouse at the far end of the property and Simon believes it is just the right sized property for two to run without having to employ much casual labour.
Elle is the farm accountant and also works for Plunket as a part-time parent education facilitator.
Raising three children is a big call but she is also focusing on developing her garden, set amongst mature trees. She hopes to get a call from House and Garden Magazine some time.
"We think they are deserved winners for being proactive and courageous enough to chase their dreams and grasp opportunities when they were presented," the competition judges said.
The Open Day is at Greenhill Station 450 Waitahora Valley Road on Friday April 27, 9.30am to 5pm. Lunch must be purchased, a Weber School fundraiser ($10). As well as the tour and talk, the Shepherd of the Year will be announced.