We are farmers, we are business owners, we are parents, we are friends. Our work is rooted in the communities in which we exist and we recognize the magnitude of challenges faced by our community and as an extension, the world. We also recognize the opportunity for real sustainable change and the role in which our land and waterways will play in the future prosperity of New Zealand and New Zealanders.
New Zealand has established itself on the strength of a clean, green image drawn mostly from the beauty, health, and grandeur of its landscapes, waterways and clean air. Much of New Zealand’s land and waterways are used for agriculture and production. To date, the link between the tourism economy and the agri-based economy has not been successfully married or managed in a regenerative way.
In many parts of the world, aspects of agriculture are perceived as harmful to the environment, with practices such as intensification impacting waterways, adding pollution to the air, and reducing the long-term effectiveness or lifespan of productive land. It is this negative view of agriculture and its practices that we at Criffel Station challenge.
We believe above all else that with the right practices and vision in place, agriculture can be regenerative and sustainable. An approach that can benefit the land, the animals, the environment, and the communities who work in and around rural properties. Criffel Station and those who inhabit it are deeply involved in regional and national environmental and community groups including WAI Wanaka, WAO Reset Summit, and the Freshwater leader’s group, supporting the central government’s Essential Freshwater Word Programme.
New Zealand as a whole has many positive initiatives in place supporting improvements and identifying better ways of operating. One such initiative is One Health, and it is this philosophy and principles which underpins all that we do at Criffel Station.
One Health is a virtuous, self-reinforcing cycle that helps to improve the reputations of New Zealand producers within this country and beyond. It is about focussing not just on the monetary value of the agri-sector but also the esteem in which products are held. We believe this is communicated through the relationship producers have with the land.
Criffel Station utilizes the One Health framework to effectively set farming standards and mechanisms to review and help support the properties involved. Through One Health we help focus on developing systems for:
This aspect focusses on regenerative farming practices, reducing air pollution and waste management.
Developing a sustainable water catchment management plan, that involves testing and not just adherence to industry standards but excelling in them.
Taking a proactive risk-based animal health and welfare planning approach. This aspect requires properties to adhere to the core concepts which the NZ Animal Welfare Act (1999) is founded on:
- Proper and sufficient food
- Proper and sufficient water
- Adequate shelter
- Opportunity to display normal patterns of behaviour
- Physical handling in a manner which minimizes the likelihood of unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress
- Proactive documented animal health plans that are annually reviewed and risk assessed by a veterinarian to ensure protection from, and rapid diagnosis of, any significant injury or disease, – being a need which, in each case, is appropriate to the species, environment, and the circumstances of the animal.
Or more simply, proactive animal husbandry that results in truly happy animals.
Ensuring a safe and healthy workplace where a team feels supported, encouraged, and rewarded is just part of this aspect of One Health. It is also about the flow-on effect of a rural entity on suppliers, guests, and the broader community that supports or, through employment, is supported by a rural property. One Health properties take care to ensure involvement with the community as valuable and respected contributors to the overall health of their rural property.
Agriculture is not the end in itself: it is part of a value chain that culminates in consumption – but to be successful we need to ensure our landscapes, our people, and the animals are nurtured.