| April 30, 2021
New Zealand’s first Toitū Envirocare carbonzero-certified farm has just been named, with the honour going to Lake Hawea Station near Wanaka.
The 6,505-hectare high-country farm is owned by entrepreneurs Geoff and Justine Ross, who are passionate about sustainability and transparency in farming.
Lake Hawea Station runs close to 10,000 Merino sheep and 200 Angus cows. The station supplies Silver Fern Farms with high-value lamb and top-quality pure Angus beef.
The Ross family has worked on the farm’s carbon profile over the last two years, with Toitū recently spending time on the farm to independently verify and certify the station’s carbon-zero position.
Being certified carbon zero is just the beginning for Lake Hawea Station – the farm has set the ambitious target of becoming 10-times carbon positive.
“If we could be the first farm in the world to achieve that, it would be a huge undertaking,” Geoff said in an interview with MiNDFOOD.
They plan to reach this goal by planting 10,000 trees a year for 10 years and also by looking at reducing the emissions of the stock through genetics, regenerative farming and possibly seaweed supplements.
“So we’re going to address that 10-times carbon positive challenge twofold, through sequestering more with more plantings, but emitting less as well through working with those who are reducing methane emissions from the stock,” Geoff explained.
Geoff and Justine’s motivation for their carbon-positive goal in part comes from the knowledge that it’s what the consumer demands, but it’s mostly due to their own desire to help the environment.
“I think first and foremost it was important to us personally,” Geoff said. “We as a family have always been very environmentally minded.”
Justine agrees they simply brought their long-held values to farming. “This is not a new thing for us,” she said. “We’ve both been campaigning for the environment for 20-plus years.”