15 February 2019
Since 1889, farming has united every generation of the Rabbidges. The family’s connection to the land they live and farm on - and their wider district - is characterised by profound respect.
The evolution of Rabbidge Farms owes to great foresight and ambition. Over the years, diversification of the land and operation has been achieved through the addition of neighbouring blocks and farms close by. This process was overseen by Dean and Sarah who are now the sole owners of the land and farming business through their companies.
Raising son, Ted, and daughter, Ida, on their Don View sheep and beef property - the original family farm - they impressed the judges with their ability to identify, pursue and create opportunities for business growth.
Expansion of the Rabbidges’ enterprise is possible thanks to their dedicated network of employees. The dairy farm, Toyland, is run by colleague Michael who maintains sole charge and takes care of the land and cattle as though they are his own. Dean’s parents, Stephen and Bev, are based at the Letterbox Farm (sheep, beef and dairy support) and are integrally involved with the day-to-day running of the operation.
Don View itself carries approximately 2500 ewes and 50 beef calves. The judges acknowledged the well-established property’s excellent stock performance which is testament to the farm’s efficient infrastructure and the team’s focus on improving soil fertility and lifting pasture production.
While business productivity is certainly healthy and an important priority, the Rabbidges are also focused on taking care of the environment. Don View’s native bush is largely fenced off and protected and riparian planting with natives is ongoing.
A long-term commitment to sustainability and a willingness to share and receive knowledge is a motivating incentive for Dean and Sarah.
“We are friends with people who have previously entered the awards and won. We saw how much positive feedback and information they received throughout the process. As we are in our first financial year as farm owners, it was motivating for us to enter and get feedback on where best to prioritise our spend. It’s always exciting to have another set of eyes on what you are doing.”
DairyNZ Sustainability and Stewardship Award
Hill Laboratories Agri-Science Award
Norwood Agri-Business Management Award