Miraka farmers pave the way for a greener future
Once again Central North Island dairy processor Miraka has shown that their focus on sustainable farming practices is delivering returns. Despite experiencing a challenging dry summer period, this year a record number of farms achieved a perfect score in the Te Ara Miraka Programme and were recognised at the iwi-owned organisation’s annual awards ceremony.
“We have been running the awards for four years now, and each year we’ve seen significant improvements across our farm community” says Grant Jackson, Miraka’s General Manager of Milk Supply. “We’re asking farmers to really raise the bar and strive for excellence in a wide range of areas including animal welfare, sustainable land management, and supporting staff. This is about more than just meeting regulations. Our goal is to show what’s possible and to become true leaders in the industry” says Grant.
18 of the 101 participating farms achieved a score of 90% or more, and five farms, Papatangi, Sandel Ridge, Arataki, Glengour, and Chamberlin Trust achieved a perfect score of 100%. Just 10 farms achieved a score over 90% when the awards began four years ago. The excellence standards include a mix of mandatory and optional criteria. Optional criteria are allocated points, and results are financially incentivised over and above the base milk price.
Wayne Chamberlin of Chamberlin Trust Farm says achieving the top score was a challenge. “The Te Ara Miraka framework is good as it keeps you on your toes. It incentivises you to keep striving and stay focused right through the season, and new measures are added each year. Miraka’s approach aligns well with our own philosophy on the farm. We firmly believe that if you look after the land and the animals, they will look after you” says Wayne.
Phillip Samuels of Papatangi Farm has been with Miraka since the organisation first began. Papatangi is one of five farms owned by the Te Raparahi Lands Trust, and all five farms achieved an excellence score of 90% or more this season. “We’re really proud to be suppliers to Miraka. They are proactive to deal with and have a genuinely personal approach. We never feel like we are being held back – Miraka encourages us to be innovative, to get out there and make things happen” says Phillip.
Japie Nortje of Arataki Farms Ltd has also been with Miraka from the start. “We’ve been pushing hard to achieve the top mark in the Te Ara Miraka programme. Each year something small would trip us up, so we’re really pleased we made it this year. For us it’s about putting in place the systems and getting everyone in the team involved. With a bit of guidance and support I believe that farmers can start achieving results like these right across the industry” says Japie.
“Miraka’s goal is to become the most sustainable dairy company in the world” says Richard Wyeth, Miraka’s Chief Executive Officer. “Achieving this goal starts at the farm, through the hard work and dedication of our farm supply whānau. By supporting them to apply environmentally sound practices we are helping to create climate-resilient farms that produce some of the highest quality milk in the world” he says.
The Te Ara Miraka programme continues to evolve. The organisation is looking to include a more dynamic approach to assessment in the future, recognising that there are a number of ways to achieve outcomes that benefit the land, the animals and the people, all while producing world-class milk.
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About Te Ara Miraka Farming Excellence Standards
Te Ara Miraka (the Miraka Way) supports a culture of excellence through the Miraka supply chain — from the farm to the consumer.
The top five farms who achieved a perfect score in Te Ara Miraka this year were:
Papatangi – Te Raparahi Lands Trust
Sandel Ridge – Walters family
Arataki – Nortje family
Glengour – Kilgour family
Chamberlin Trust – Chamberlin family
The Farming Excellence Programme provides farmers with tools, resources and expert advice to drive profitability, improve land stewardship, produce world-class quality milk and build stronger communities. Farms are assessed annually and scores contribute to the final milk price.
The Programme includes five pou:
1. Nga Tangata — People
2. Te Taiao — Environment
3. Taurikura — Prosperity
4. Nga Kau — Cows
5. Miraka — Milk
Posted: Mon 13 Jul 2020