Hard work and diligent commitment to the industry are keys to the Te Toko station success story. Bob Osborne was born on a farm in Eketahuna and sheared his way to earning and owning his own stock and property where he raised his family with his wife Judy. However, it wasn’t long before he sold one property to buy another larger one farther south.
Bob and Judy’s son Kim left school knowing that he wanted to stick with the industry that helped raise him, so he started shearing to save for his future farm.
“Dad got bored with his second place and asked if I wanted to get into farming with him,” Kim says. “We looked all around the upper north island before we found Te Toko in the Waitomo district. When we found it, it was pretty run down.”
Still seeing hope in the steep hill and high rainfall country, Kim and his father purchased the property. For twenty years Bob worked on the farm while Kim continued to contract shearing and fencing to pay off the mortgage. Together they slowly cleaned up the property – fixing fences, clearing gorse and finally getting a proper burn through the land.
Kim and his parents still run the 1300 ha farm together along with Kim’s wife, Janette whose involvement is with the paperwork side of things. They currently run about 2200 Perendale ewes, 400 hoggets and 50 lambs in their 5000 stock units.
Primary Wool Co-operative
The Osborne’s relationship with Primary Wool Co-operative started with a desire to get the most out of their wool.
“I had been hunting around looking for the ultimate way to sell my wool when I saw an ad for Primary Wool Co-operative,” says Kim. “It’s been an absolute perfect fit. Where else can you get a 10% plus return and make an honest figure out of your wool?”
They not only appreciate the returns they get on their wool but they value the industry good investments and are currently on their second round of new wool packs.
“The leaders have grabbed the bull by the horns and are putting what we produce to good use through programs like Just Shorn,” says Kim. “It’s straight up honesty and we like that.”
Like Kim, Janette Osborne was born on a farm and is passionate about wool and the state of the industry. Her family have been farming in New Zealand for four generations. She sees a lot of hope for the fibre and has personally invested years into shaping a positive future for the fibre and the farmers that grow it.
With a small flock of black sheep and llamas of her own, Janette sells her own wool and knitting yarns around the world through Briar Patch New Zealand Limited.
“I believe that wool is an absolute wonder fibre. If we don’t work hard to fight for it now and educate the consumer, that may change in the future,” she says. “It’s a shame wool returns have decreased causing many to leave sheep farming or to drop their wool genetics and quality. Good wool returns are vital for the bottom line of any sheep farming business. We need to increase consumer demand by educating consumers of the wonderful attributes of wool – sustainability, fire retardancy, warmth etc. We need good quality wool in finished products so the demand can flow through the supply chain – Primary Wool is working hard to do that.”