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Field-day farm prospers despite challenges

Field-day farm prospers despite challenges

Rabobank, the world’s leading food and agribusiness bank, congratulates recently crowned Hawkes Bay Farmers of the Year Adrian and Kim Arnold on a successful field day held at their property on the 8th of May.

The Hawkes Bay Farmer of the Year field day showcased the key strengths in the Arnold’s farm operation and was attended by over 250 farmers keen to learn more about the Arnolds’ farm.

Situated 35 km north of Napier, the Arnold’s sheep and beef farm is a steep 438ha property dropping off to the Esk Valley on one side and Tutira on the other. Despite the sometimes difficult environment the farm has been consistently productive and profitable, with the event judges being particularly impressed by the attention to detail shown in many facets of the farming operation.

Attendees of the field day were given a brief introduction to the history of the farm and how the property, which has been farmed by three generations of Mr Arnold’s family, recovered from the devastating impacts of Cyclone Bola in 1988. There was also valuable insight provided into stock management policy and a session dedicated to the measures that have been taken to combat the recently experienced drought conditions.

Speaking at the event, Rabobank General Manager, Rural New Zealand Ben Russell praised the Arnolds’ ability to achieve results despite challenging circumstances.

Mr Russell acknowledged the difficulties that sheep and beef farmers have gone through in recent years citing the high New Zealand dollar, extended drought conditions, increasing farm input costs and low lamb prices as factors which have reduced returns in this sector.

Mr Russell said that these circumstances have left farmers with two choices, to opt out of the meat industry and pursue other alternatives or to persevere and position their business to participate in the recovery.

“Rabobank’s view, as it has been over the last year, is that the sheep and beef industry will experience a turnaround in the next 12 – 24 months and that the long term future for sheep and beef is positive.

“The fundamental supply and demand factors underpinning the New Zealand meat industry are very strong,” he said, adding that demand for meat products continues to grow, especially driven by developing countries, while on the supply side all major suppliers of sheep meat will experience decreased production in 2008/09.

“These factors provide grounds for renewed confidence in the sheep and beef sector. Those sheep and beef farmers who have hung in there through the drought and low prices will be rewarded over the next couple of years,” Mr Russell said.

Mr Russell said that Rabobank intends to continue to grow its business exposure in this sector and to stand by its existing client base during difficult times.

Rabobank New Zealand is a part of the international Rabobank Group, the world’s leading specialist in food and agribusiness banking. Rabobank has more than 100 years’ experience providing customised banking and finance solutions to businesses involved in all aspects of food and agribusiness. Rabobank has a AAA credit rating and is rated one of the world’s safest bank by Global Finance magazine. Rabobank operates in 42 countries, servicing the needs of more than nine million clients worldwide through a network of more than 1500 offices and branches. Rabobank is one of New Zealand’s leading rural lenders and a significant provider of business and corporate banking and financial services to the country’s food and agribusiness sector. The bank has 29 branches throughout New Zealand.

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