Hard work has its merits.

Hinakura farmer Donald McCreary can attest to this after winning the award for the Beef and Lamb Wairarapa Farm Business of the Year and in the process scoring himself $30,000 in prizes.

McCleary has been farming in Hinakura, east of Martinborough, since 2004 on a 1375 ha property which is predominantly steep, hill country.

The property contains 6700 ewes and 225 breeding cattle.


McCreary says his approach to good farming is to be well versed in all areas of farm management.

"I have a good all round approach to farming from pasture production to asset management."

He keeps himself well updated with farming trends by making sure he communicates with his peers.

"I try to go on beef and lamb field days on different farms and surround myself with innovative peers, I also use Baker and Associates (agribusiness consultancy) for advice... It's about trying to maintain a broad skill set," McCreary said.

The Beef and Lamb Wairarapa Farm Business of the Year Competition has been running since 1983 and by the mid 2000s the criteria was widened to reflect "any business in the Wairarapa whose main business is derived from farming sheep and beef animals".

McCreary won by impressing the judges on his way through the two rounds of competition.

The first round was a 40-minute financial presentation and the second round included a mix of a farm management presentation and a farm tour.

Running after the announcement of McCreary's win is the Taratahi Wairarapa Shepherd of the Year competition.


In its first year, member of the organising committee Doug Mckenzie said the competition is designed to recognise the value of young shepherds (19-26 years) and broaden the base of skills at sub-management level for people that will have a bearing on the future of farming in Wairarapa.

The competition will be judged on an initial written interview in which contestants will answer open ended questions about shepherding as a job, stock management and sub management duties on the farm.

It will then be narrowed down to a group of finalists who will host a farm tour whilst answering questions about their role.

The winner will receive $5000 worth of prizes and will be announced on March 27 on a field day at Donald McCreary's farm in Hinakura which includes a presentation by former New Zealand rugby great Sir Brian Lochore.

The day has traditionally attracted over 300 people.