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Lincoln University Foundation Sth Island Farmer of the year

5 November 2011

Innovative South Canterbury farmers win the 2011 Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition

Last night Ray and Adrianne Bowan of South Canterbury won the Lincoln University Foundation’s showcase event – the South Island Farmer of the Year.

“We are incredibly humbled and overwhelmed by the win, especially as all the finalists were of high calibre. It is quite a surprise,” says Mr Bowan.

Lincoln University Foundation chairman Neil Taylor congratulated the Bowans. “Their commitment to innovation is ongoing – year after year. They are exceptional managers and are environmentally aware, as are all of the finalists.”

Mr Taylor congratulated all finalists saying “they are all successful farmers and business people.”

The first round of judging involved an on-farm inspection. The second round involved application analysis at Lincoln University, and from there four finalists were selected. A second on-farm inspection was held and this evening the finalists each gave a 15 minute public presentation at Lincoln University attended by 90 members of the South Island rural community

The winners of the award categories are as follows:

The winner of the 2011 South Island Farmer of the Year: Ray and Adrianne Bowan of South Canterbury. They farm 1214 hectares in Orari and 197 hectares at Coldstream on the North Bank of the Rangitata River. With 95 percent of their farm irrigated they grow potatoes, cereals, barley, maze and grass seeds. Increasingly they are wintering dairy cows and last winter 2,500 cows wintered on their property.

Ray is a Director of both Grainstor and Seedlands and is an original member of the Rangitata South Irrigation Scheme. In 2009 when a potato chip factory in Washdyke closed down the Bowans bought the factory and established Heartland Potato Chips,, which employs 15 people. The Bowans bought their first farm over 40 years ago. It is now a family affair with their son working on the farm, one daughter working in the office and another daughter, who lives in Christchurch, helping out with the marketing.

The Bowans received a $15,000 travel award to be used to explore overseas farming systems.

The runner up of the 2011 South Island Farmer of the Year: Bill and Lynda Davey of Rakaia in Mid Canterbury. The Davey’s run an intensive cropping operation supplying barley for Monteith’s Brewery and lease land to a Dutch company that grows bulbs.

The Daveys received a $7,500 travel award.

The farmer who best illustrated the use of cutting edge implementation of innovation on their farm: David and Pam Gardner from Waimate in South Canterbury. They farm Kelso sheep and shorthorn cross cows using an extensive four-wire electric fence system.

They received a TM465 GPS system.

The People’s Choice Public Presentation award: David and Pam Gardner (as per above).

The fourth finalists, Stephen and Tracey Cullen of Mossburn in Southland were commended for entering and becoming finalists in this prestigious competition.

All finalists received a voucher for 10 x 20kg salt blocks from competition sponsor Summit Animal Health.

Next year a field day will be held on the Bowan’s farm and all members of the rural community are invited to attend. The event will be publicised in the new year.

For more information about the Lincoln University Foundation’s South Island Farmer of the Year competition, visit

– ENDS –

Editor’s notes:

About the Lincoln University Foundation – set up by Lincoln University alumni during the University’s centenary year in 1978, the primary purpose of the Foundation is to advance education in the fields of agriculture and related interests in New Zealand. Travel awards are provided for educational purposes, research, or to attend a course of study in New Zealand or overseas. The South Island Farmer of the Year is the Foundation’s showcase event.

About the South Island Farmer of the Year competition – applications are sought from throughout the South Island. Judges assess each written application and create a short-list of farms. Each farm is then visited and assessed to identify the finalists. In November the finalists present to the judges followed by a public presentation and from there a final winner is selected. Judges are looking for measurable and transferable innovative activity. This may range from a new production process or a management technique/programme to a new selling/marketing approach or a combination of these. An open day is held on the winning farm and members of the rural community are invited to attend. The winners use the prize money for further education/study in New Zealand or overseas.

Daniel O'Regan Account Manager

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