Shane & Alice and Shirley Armstrong of Armstrong Farming


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2023 Finalists: Shane & Alice and Shirley Armstong of Armstrong Farming – Dairy

Caring for the land and keeping family involved are firmly at the forefront for innovative fourth generation Bay of Plenty organic dairy farmers Shane and Alice Armstrong.

The pair are behind Armstrong Farming, with connections to the land going back to Shane’s great-grandfather who farmed in the district since the late 1800s.

Armstrong Farming runs a total area of 196ha on a mixture of flat, rolling and steep ground, and for the past three years their average production has been 96,000kgMS.

This organic operation looks to nature to guide its operation – for example they’ve significantly reduced inputs and have gone above and beyond to protect and enhance the land. Dams have been created in low-lying natural wetlands, while stocking rates have been reduced to ensure the land is farmed sustainably.

Each year, about 7,000 native plants are added to the wetlands, enhancing the property’s biodiversity and attracting different bird species. Organic waste products are transformed into compost which is used to add nutrients to pastures.

A small avocado crop is the team’s first step toward collaborating with other small business owners on a locally supplied farmer’s market.

Shane and Alice’s lifestyle matches their farming operation. They’ve built an off-grid home, powered by solar energy, while the property’s emissions are reduced by using an e-bike with a purpose-built farm trailer.

For Shane and Alice, farming provides a home, income, food, work and lifestyle that they like to share with friends and family. With a firm focus on caring for the land, they hope their children will take it over and become the fifth generation on the land.

Shane & Alice and Shirley are the winners of Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award, Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Farm Award, DairyNZ Sustainability and Stewardship Award and NZFET Biodiversity Award.

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