“As well as grappling with the significant regulatory changes all farmers and growers are facing, deer farmers are also faced with historically low venison schedule prices. Despite those challenges newly appointed Deer Industry New Zealand board member Mandy Bell told Colin Williscroft that she is optimistic about the industry’s future, while not forgetting the people in rural communities who are having a tough time.
WANAKA deer farmer Mandy Bell has had a lifelong association with deer, attending New Zealand’s first-ever live deer auction on industry stalwart Sir Tim Wallis’ property as a child in the late 1970s before working with fallow deer as a vet student.
These days Bell and husband Jerry farm Criffel Station, which they bought from Jerry’s father Hector Bell in the early 1990s and converted the then high country sheep station into a deer farm.
Since then, they have evolved the deer farming business to also include agri-tourism and an events venue, while also playing significant roles in their growing local community.
Bell has been involved in a range of governance roles in the primary sector, including previously chairing the Passion2Profit primary growth partnership that aims to grow and capture the full value available for farm-raised venison by positioning it as a premium, non-seasonal meat, and by better aligning supply with demand and currently she is a Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ) director.
As co-founder and chair of WAI Wanaka, which is in effect a large catchment group for the Upper Clutha, Bell is involved in a number of land and water sustainability programmes.”