Winners of this year's Property Brokers Tararua Sheep and Beef Farm Business of the Year, Shaun and Fiona Fouhy, held their field day at Glanworth on Thursday, May 6.
The winner of the Tararua Shepherd of the Year was announced, with Kit Holmes emerging the winner.
"Kit's enthusiasm is infectious. She was originally from England, with no connection to agriculture. She enrolled at a course at Taratahi and has since held numerous roles in shepherding," said organising committee member from ANZ Bank, Sally Terry.
Around 100 farmers came to the field day and took a tour up the loop track to an elevation of 1850 feet above sea level on about 60 quad bikes and side-by-sides.
A key message for the day was the intergenerational nature of the fourth generation family business run by Shaun and Fiona Fouhy.
"We have thrived and managed to expand the business," said Fiona Fouhy. "We're so grateful for the opportunity that we've been given.
"Joe and Lea Fouhy's vision was key to where we are now. Day to day we're so lucky to have mentors - with Joe and Lea guiding us along the way.
"Glanworth started in 1892 when Tom Fouhy came from Ireland and was lucky to buy two ballots of land at Marima. This was part of the Forty Mile Bush, it was all standing native bush.
"He had an incredibly hard life breaking land in, making it what it is today. The climate is pretty wet - the early days must have been incredibly tough for him. A lot of people around couldn't make a go of it and ended up giving the land back. He managed to grow the business in tough times.
"In 1951 he split it between two sons, one of which was Pat, Shaun's grandfather, who managed to grow the business until it was passed on to Joe and Lea.
"Now Glanworth has managed to buy back all bar 40ha of the original land and because of this history, it's not just a farm to Shaun - he's got deep connections to the land," she said.
Shaun is the fourth generation family at Glanworth. After Boys' High he went to Lincoln where he gained a degree in Ag. Com. He did an OE doing cropping work in Australia and worked on a sheep farm in the UK. Then he came back to learn his craft at Glanworth.
Fiona comes from a dairy farm in Scotland and did a four-year degree in physiotherapy. As a new graduate, she took up a job offer in Palmerston North in New Zealand and is still working one day a week as a physiotherapist.
Shaun and Fiona met at a Young Farmers Regional Final in 2011 and married in 2014 in Scotland and now have three children.
They have been farming on their own account for the last five years.
"There's still plenty of room for growth across the business," said Shaun.
"The property is 890ha in total but a recent mapping showed it to be effective for 785ha, which gives a stocking rate of 9.9. One-third of the land is flat, one-third is easy rolling and one-third is steep.
"We run 3700 ewes, 1000 hoggets, calving 285 Angus cows, have 265 yearling cattle and winter 50 R2s. The annual rainfall is between 2100-2200mm per year. In six weeks last spring we got 490mm of rainfall. It comes with its challenges.
One of the judges for the competition, Sean Stafford of MCI and Associates, has been involved with it since 2013. He has been helping people raise capital for equity partnerships, business advisory, governance, succession and deal structuring.
"I've been judging the final rounds since 2013 and had the pleasure of seeing a lot of good businesses," he said. "The Fouhys is certainly one of them. From a judging perspective, this is a phenomenal business in terms of its financial performance with 5-6 per cent return on capital.
"Lambing is consistent in the mid-140s and calving at 95 per cent. The physical performance is underpinning financial performance and is extremely consistent.
"A very high performing level of EFS is $750 over four years, which highlights the level they are performing at. We got really excited as judges to see a low-impact livestock model, friendly for the land-use classes, while generating a phenomenal financial performance.
"Inter-generational thinking over 100 years of farming history is evident. Shaun and Fiona's entire farming philosophy is shaped around that theme. I've seen a lot of growth in their capability over the last 7-8 years," he said.