2022 Finalist: Jono & Amy Ardern of Auroa – Dairy
The motivated couple behind this Taranaki dairy farm are cleverly investing their capital and have made the business more resilient by having a secondary income stream.
Auroa is now in its seventh dairy season, while Amy started her own veterinarian practice in 2014. Their hard work and vision have led to both financial security and a great family lifestyle.
Jono has an excellent understanding of the strengths and limitations of the farm’s soils, and this has no doubt contributed to Auroa’s productivity more than doubling since he took over. Not afraid of trying new things, he has invested in trialing crops and pasture varieties and also carries out DNA testing on the whole herd.
They’ve made great progress on riparian planting to protect the many waterways that meander through the property, carefully ensuring the right tree is planted in the right place. The riparian zones incorporate a mix of native and exotic trees – providing excellent stock shelter while providing species-specific benefits. The natives introduce biodiversity and provide food and habitat for native wildlife. Meanwhile, the exotic trees often grow faster, provide stock fodder and are a potential source of timber.
Jono is focused on investing first and foremost into pastures and soil fertility to deliver the highest financial returns and in turn enable more capital investment. He is making great use of the farm’s infrastructure in order to minimise winter damage.
Staff and the wider community are also important to this couple. Their farm workers are supported and developed for future career opportunities, while Jono is an active representative on local and regional farming committees.
Between them, Amy and Jono are well informed about current and future farming issues. This combines with clear goals and plenty of energy which is focused on continually achieving more in the future.
Jono and Amy are the winners of Hill Laboratories Agri-Science Award and Massey University Innovation Award
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