Greta and Craig Harman are farmers who have taken advantage of Northland Regional Council’s Environment Fund over the years to complete fencing on their large, hilly Charolais stud farm in Whananaki.
The Harmans used the Environment Fund grant to fence off their streams and a bush line, to form the backbone of the farm’s fencing. From this backbone they added subdivision and back fencing to create cell grazing. This cell grazing system allows for long rotations which have improved pasture cover and vigour, and in turn increased production and reduced the risk of sheet erosion.
Craig and Greta have done so much good work on their farm and in their community, they won the Regional Supreme Award in the Ballance Farm Awards earlier this year. Greta coordinates the Whananaki Landcare Group and is involved in the Community Led Development Programme, in partnership with the Department of Internal Affairs.
The Harmans have also been sharing their experience in their community and encouraging others in their neighbourhood to come on board and fence their waterways. This year grants have been awarded to fence around 4,350 metres of Te Wairahi and Taupari Streams which flow into the Whananaki Estuary. This includes important areas of wetland, saltmarsh and significant areas of bush. The aim is to join up each piece of the jigsaw puzzle so all streams and wetlands in the catchment are fenced. This will reduce the amount of sediment, nutrients and bacteria getting into the estuary and, along with weed and pest control, will do wonders for the whitebait that live in and migrate up the streams each year.