Tim and Cathie Ford of Forde Ltd


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2022 Finalist: Tim and Cathie Ford of Forde Ltd – Sheep, Beef and Forestry

Starting with a good bone structure 11 years ago, Tim and Cathie Forde have focused on improving every aspect of their property and they now have a sustainable, multi-tier farming business.

Almost 90 percent of their income comes from beef and sheep, with the balance split between forestry consulting, and timber and nursery sales. The core business at the Havelock North property is finishing about 210 bulls each year. They also have a small breeding flock of about 100 sheep and lambs.

The Fordes believe they’ve developed a working farm that balances most aspects of land stewardship and stock management. However, they’re keen for evaluation of the work they’ve done and advice for the future – leading them to enter the Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

The property’s income fluctuates according to the market, meaning they have to take a flexible approach to policies and management. Their approach also has to respond to compliance costings, weather impacts and today’s COVID-19 restrictions.

The Fordes have numerous sustainability initiatives underway and are actively planning more. This includes the creation of a wetland called Lake Rotohirawa which they’re continually developing through plantings and water management.

Other highlights include providing ample shelter for stock and using the leaf fall for grazing to boost nutrient value. They’ve made great strides to improve the farm’s soil and pasture, through careful management and by implementing run-off catchments and silt traps.

The timber production area of the business – which involves poplars and pinus radiata – has proved successful and they are keen to continue developing this.

The Fordes see the property as their own little slice of paradise where they have the freedom to carry out their ideas, based on the principals of running and developing a bio-diverse, sustainable, multi-tier farming venture.

Tim and Cathie are the winners of Bayleys People in Primary Sector Award and Massey University Innovation Award.

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