2022 Finalists: Geoff and Rochelle Spark of Torlesse Farm – Dairy or Beef
People are at the heart of this North Canterbury dairy and beef farm that regularly opens its gates to the community, using their irrigation lake as a venue to connect the urban and rural communities.
Torlesse Farm runs about 1,700 dairy cows across 450ha, with a further 400ha split fairly evenly between dairy support and beef. About 80 prime cattle are sold each year and the Sparks have diversified the business to include grazing and grass sales, and they operate a commercial weighbridge.
The Sparks, their sharemilkers and staff have a positive, solutions-focused approach, meaning production at the farm is back up to normal levels after sustaining a hit from Mycoplasma bovis in 2017.
Rochelle and Geoff entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards because they believe they have a positive story to share. They understand that in order for their business to be sustainable, it needs to run at a high standard – including when it comes to environmental stewardship.
With a strong family connection to the land, they’re on a journey of continuous improvement so their farm can thrive as a sustainable, profitable business. Good infrastructure and management provide the foundation, enhanced with activities such as regenerating native bush by trapping possums and fencing off feral deer on their hill country beef farm.
Torlesse Farm includes a 5.5ha irrigation storage lake which they’re continually enhancing with native plants. This is the centrepiece when hosting hundreds of people for community events including triathlons, charity groups and social occasions. They manage their farm around these scheduled events, helping to foster a connection between town and country. Geoff is a dedicated advocate for the Farmstrong programme.
The Sparks are proud to be food producers of quality products that are highly sought after around the world and they’re focused on doing this sustainably into the future.
Geoff and Rochelle are the winners of Bayleys People in Primary Sector Award.
Enter the Ballance Farm Environment Awards