Jason Christensen of Fernhill


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2024 Greater Wellington Finalists: Jason Christensen of Fernhill – Dairy, Sheep and Beef

Since 1879, Fernhill has evolved and expanded under the guidance of the Christensen family, and today the Masterton farm remains both environmentally and economically sustainable. 
Jason Christensen is currently managing the farm, actively supported by his parents Henry and Dorothy, along with full-timers Mike Spearpoint and Katie Gammie, and a pool of casuals. They combine their strengths to drive toward a shared goal of achieving maximum milk production on an all-grass system – sustainably and with minimal labour. 
Across the 536ha property, they run 380 cows on a 153ha milking platform. The remaining 180ha of effective land is a drystock unit used for grazing young stock, beef and sheep. 
To help protect the environment and increase production, the team uses a range of environmental initiatives and sustainable practises – including trials of new technologies. 
Good forward planning guides the farm’s continual development that includes retiring and planting land, developing new shelterbelts and installing biosecurity boundary fencing. 
Regular testing and monitoring ensure the careful management of both soil and pastures, and paddocks are re-grassed annually. Weeds, predators and effluent application are all actively controlled. 
Stock water is refreshed by a sophisticated network of water pipes and abundant troughs across the property, fed by natural water sources.  
Fernhill’s natural environment and biodiversity has been enhanced for many years, starting with Henry’s planting of Redwood trees along waterways and Jason building on this using his skills as a former Department of Conservation worker. All permanent waterways are fenced off and the property today boasts a total of seven QEII covenants ranging in size from 1.4ha to 33ha.  
Reducing energy use is a top priority and this, combined with the wide range of sustainable farming practises, is ensuring the team behind this inter-generational farm is setting it up to thrive into the future. 


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