Mark Chrystall, Richard Chrystall and Rob Collier of Spring Farms


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2024 Horizons Finalists: Mark Chrystall, Richard Chrystall and Rob Collier of Spring Farms – Sheep and Beef

This team approaches farming using the analogy that sustainability is a three-legged stool if one of the financial, environmental or social legs fail, the stool falls over. 
Mark and Richard Chrystall, and Rob Collier represent the two families behind Spring Farms. This Taihape sheep and beef farm is run as a hybrid model which brings together the best elements of a family-run business combined with good corporate governance. 
Spanning 2,773ha (2,628ha effective), Spring Farms was established in 2008. It started with 10,000 stock units and this has grown to 30,000 in 2023. The sheep and beef breeders and finishers farm across five different blocks, carefully tailoring land use to type.  
The environmental leg of the stool started being built when the families added Spring Farms into the Sustainable Land Use Initiative system. Since then, more than 20kms of waterways have been fenced, riparian borders have been created with 12,000 native trees, and over 80ha of land has been retired. 
Spring Farms was the first business in New Zealand to be NZFAP Plus accredited – a tribute to its strong focus on soil management and waterway protection. 
The social aspect includes catchment group work, and sharing their sustainablity journey by getting school children and the wider community involved. They actively support the training of shepherds, plus staff are offered growth opportunities.  
The substantial growth of the business over the past 20 years is largely due to a strong focus on finance. The judges were impressed with the business’s excellent management and governing structure – all built on strong relationships and critical analysis.  
These families see themselves as custodians of the land for the next generation. They’re actively sharing their knowledge to help our agricultural industry continue to produce sustainable, clean and green products for the world. 

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