2023 Finalists: Jason & Amanda Prior of DownUnder Honey – Honey and Nursery
DownUnder Honey has a diversified business with a focus on sustainable beekeeping and promoting the planting of a wide range of plants that benefit pollinator insects and native birds.
Since purchasing the Feilding property in 2010, Amanda and Jason Prior have created a multi-faceted business that features beekeeping, a plant nursery that grows trees for bees, and an orchard.
The 18ha (16ha effective) property showcases many of the plants they grow, enabling them to promote sustainable beekeeping and introduce other landowners to opportunities to plant flowering trees and shrubs.
The beekeeping business is a local Manawatū operation that produces clover honey as well as mānuka and native florals. Products are sold through their shop, and they also work with a collective of local beekeepers, exporting surplus honey to overseas markets.
At its core, the business strategy aims to tackle the challenge of making a small block profitable. The 1,500 tree orchard includes traditional apple and pear varieties, and uses Shropshire sheep to manage grass growth without damaging the trees.
DownUnder Honey also includes a small number of ostriches that are understood to have a low carbon footprint and can be farmed alongside sheep.
With the help of eight staff, Amanda and Jason derive 65% of the business’s income from honey production, 30% from nursery sales and the balance from other sources. Their most successful environmental initiative is the creation of habitat for bees through planting a range of trees that flower throughout the year. They have supported many other farmers who host their beehives by helping them plant flowering trees for bees.
As they look to the future, Amanda and Jason are focused on continuing to set overall business goals and putting practical strategies in place to achieve them.
Enter the Ballance Farm Environment Awards