7 April 2011
Back in 1971, when Gordon Blake was establishing a 50ha dairy unit within his family’s 265ha dry stock farm east of Tirau, a neighbour warned him, “it’s a backwards step to go dairying”.
Time has proved that neighbour dead wrong. Dairying, says Gordon emphatically, has allowed them to secure the land and lifestyle for descendants. Pam, a dairy farmers daughter, jokes she thought she was marrying a sheep farmer “then Gordon put one across me and changed to dairying”. But she stresses she has “no doubt it was a good move, we have no regrets”.
The award judges agreed, describing the Blakes’ now-186 ha property (166ha effective) as “a long-term sustainable economic unit that will carry on into future generations”. The judges commended the Blakes for their “passion for the industry and community around them”. The Blakes’ 530 cow dairy operation is, according to the judges, an excellent example of “intergenerational sustainability both environmentally and business-wise”.