John & Liz Chittock of The Salvation Army Jeff Farm

21/06/2022

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2022 Finalist: John & Liz Chittock of The Salvation Army Jeff Farm – Sheep, Beef and Deer

It’s almost 70 years since the late Edmund Jeff gifted his farm to the Salvation Army along with a vision of it being used to teach young people how to farm.

His dream is now a reality, with up to five cadets being trained at the 2,200ha Kaiwera sheep, beef and deer farm at any one time. On the two-year course, they learn all the basic skills required for farming, including stock and pasture management, tractor work, fencing, weed and pest control, health and safety, and shearing.

Under the guidance of John and Liz Chittock and their staff, the cadets learn farm skills at the same time as contributing to Jeff Farm’s profitability and sustainability. They run about 17,000 sheep, contributing about 70% of the farm’s income. There are also 1,100 cattle and 1,300 deer.

Over the past 20 years, there’s been a focus on stock performance and environmental improvements – and there is a clear link between the two. Increasing profitability enables the Salvation Army to spend more money on the farm’s many sustainability initiatives, along with youth programmes.

A lot of planting has resulted in thriving native areas, along with plenty of shelterbelts for stock protection. More planting is planned for the future, particularly around the waterways, most of which have been fenced off. This work has included creating sediment catchment ponds and developing new reserves.

The farm manager works closely and openly with the Board to implement five-year plans, with this approach resulting in good crop yields and well-fed stock.

Staff and students alike care for the property as if it’s their own, and this pride is evident in how well-presented Jeff Farm is – from its healthy pastures and stock to its environmental practices.

John and Liz were winners of the Bayleys People in Primary Sector Award

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