Recently Owl Farm achieved a significant milestone, having welcomed 10,000 visitors through their farm gates.
Back in 2013 when Andy West, who was then Lincoln University’s vice chancellor, and John Fegan were chatting on the sideline of their children’s rugby game Andy shared his vision for a joint venture demonstration farm between St Peter’s School Cambridge and Lincoln University. John was excited about the concept and after putting it to St Peter’s School Board the establishment of Owl Farm demonstration farm came about shortly after, in 2014.
Over the intervening years the farm’s success has relied on the support and expert input of a dedicated group of professionals, with Tom Buckley coming on as Farm Manager in 2015 after Frank Keoghan completed his tenure, and then Doug Dibley, Louise Cook, and, most recently, Jo Sheridan, filling the role of Demonstration Manager. All have contributed to the farm’s evolution, with the able support of a farm management committee, governance committee, and an industry partnership group which is currently made up of: Ballance Agri-Nutrients, DairyNZ, Farm Source, PGG Wrightson Seeds and Westpac.
The Owl Farm team is dedicated to their aim of sharing their knowledge with the farming industry, providing a teaching resource for school students, and also showcasing dairy farming to the wider public. As a result, the farm has seen a wide range of visitors of all ages ranging from: local people keen to visit a working dairy farm with their families, to St Peter’s School students (and students from other schools) utilising the farm as a learning resource, farmers learning from field day visits, and rural professionals visiting the farm to offer advice and hone their skills. Also, the recent completion of a stretch of the Te Awa cycleway along the farm boundary means it is now on view to a whole new segment of the community.
The team is proud to have interacted with so many visitors, and expects to share information and inspiration with many more in the future.