Andrew and Vicky Booth
Andrew Booth grew up on the Titoki land he has farmed, alongside wife Vicky, for the last 13 years. The 220-hectare family property owned by his parents, is home to the 400 dairy cows, pockets of native bush, riparian planting and a riverbank bordering the Mangakahia River.
As a child Andrew remembers spending many summers swimming in the river – ultimately it created a connection to the farm and a strong appreciation for water quality and a drive to maintain the good work his father had achieved in this space.
Andrew & Vicki Booth, winners of the 2023 Regional Supreme Award.Since then, significant investment has gone into creating a farm that is both environmentally and economically sustainable. This includes creating a new wetland area, active pest management, and preserving natural areas of native bush – encouraging the return of endangered native birds.
Throughout their farming journey the Northland Regional Council has supported the Booth’s plans and thanks to the MfE-funded Waimā Waitai Waiora project, the couple was able to reach a partnership agreement allowing them to co-fund a major wetland project on the farm.
The creation of the wetlands developed an awareness not only for them but others in their farming community, that farmers can have the ability to have a positive outcome for the water leaving their farms.
Andrew says it was a natural progression that then led them onto planting and growing their own natives.
Early into their planting initiative Vicky and Andrew thought to engage local schools and get them involved in helping plant nearly 2,000 native trees every year. The partnership has meant both primary and secondary students have been given the opportunity to be involved with the Booth’s planting days which offer the younger generation a chance to experience a dairy farm and gives Andrew a chance to share their farm journey.
“It creates a positive outcome for the students, and it gives us great enjoyment seeing them get their hands dirty and of course it helps get a whole lot of trees into the ground.”
In March the Booth’s hard work and passion was rewarded after taking out the 2023 Regional Supreme Award at the Northland Ballance Farm Environment Awards. Andrew says it was a humbling experience.
In awarding the Regional Supreme Award, the judges noted that the Booths’ farm is both environmentally and economically sustainable, and their community involvement is a real strength of the business, all of which reflects Andrew and Vicky’s tremendous passion for the industry.
The Booths also took out several categories including: DairyNZ Sustainability and Stewardship Award, Rabobank Agri-Business Management Award, NZFET Climate Recognition Award and the Northland Regional Council Water Quality Enhancement Award.
The NRC award is credit to all the small actions they have made around the farm that have gone on to make a big difference to the water quality on the farm, including focussing on best practice actions such as actively managing critical source areas and avoiding pugging. At the end of the day Andrew says it isn’t just the health of the Mangakahia River, looking at the bigger picture it is realising that the Kaipara Harbour, its fauna and flora and human residents will also be affected directly by their farming choice.