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Silver Fern Farmers recognised for future focus at 2021 Plate to Pasture Awards

By Silver Fern Farms

Silver Fern Farmers recognised for future focus at 2021 Plate to Pasture Awards

"Posted" 09/07/2021

  • Allen and Jo Johnstone of Wallace Johnstone Ltd have been named the Silver Fern Farms Plate to Pasture Award winners for 2021.
  • The Johnstones produce Lamb and Beef on their Te Kuiti property and won the Prime Beef Category at the Western North Island Regional Plate to Pasture Awards.
  • The second annual Plate to Pasture Food Challenge title was awarded to John and Rose Acland of Mt Peel Station for their internationally inspired two course meal.
  • Six Plate to Pasture Youth Scholarships were also by awarded to future industry leaders at the company’s Plate to Pasture Farmer Conference Gala event in Wellington last night.


Wellington 9 July 2021: The Awards, now in their 8th year, celebrate leading Silver Fern Farms suppliers of lamb, beef, venison, and bull beef who consistently supply the company with quality stock and produce food with consumer needs in mind.

All Silver Fern Farms suppliers are assessed on the consistent specification & presentation of stock, their Farm Assurance status, supply direct via Silver Fern Farms Livestock agents, shareholding, supply volume & timing and use of FarmIQ tools.

Six regional finalists are then assessed by a judging panel to determine the overall winner. Head judge Melissa Sowden said “the 2021 finalists were the most exceptional bunch we have seen to date, and illustrate the progress farmers have made embracing the spirit of the award since its introduction”.

Jo Johnstone, of Wallace Johnstone Ltd, attributed their success to the strong team culture they have built on farm. “You’re nothing without your team and we’ve spent a lot of time creating a culture among our team. We love our people, and we’ve built that into the culture” said Jo.

Allen Johnstone expressed his surprise at having been chosen among such a strong field. “We’re thrilled to be up against such great competition. We thought we wouldn’t have a chance actually” said Allen.

Head Judge Melissa Sowden said “Allen and Jo epitomize what we’re looking for in a Silver Fern Farms Plate to Pasture Award winner. The systems, processes and policies on this farm were next level, and their future focus on environmental sustainability was clear. They just understand what it is that consumers are demanding now and into the future, and they’re gearing their business to match and exceed these market expectations”.  

The Johnstones already include indigenous biodiversity and carbon reporting on their farm. They’ve planted an impressive 12,000 natives in the last two years, with plans for another 5,500 in the next year. Their property boasts 250ha of lush regenerating native bush, demonstrating their commitment to environmental sustainability.”

The award comes after Silver Fern Farms’ announcement that the company will be launching a Net Carbon Zero Certified Beef product in 2021 as it moves towards a regenerative future.

The second annual Food Challenge Award was also hotly contested. The Award went to John and Rose Acland of Mount Peel Station, who presented an internationally-inspired two-course meal featuring a secondary venison cut and lamb shortloin, showing off their understanding of the type of dishes that discerning customers of premium New Zealand red meat are seeking.

The judges for the 2021 Plate to Pasture Awards were Melissa Sowden (Agribusiness Technical Support, Silver Fern Farms), Sam Robinson (Director, Silver Fern Farms Ltd) and Brent Lilley (overall winner, 2020).

The 2021 Plate to Pasture Youth Scholarship was also awarded at the event, with six future industry leaders awarded $5000 each.

Silver Fern Farms Co-Chair Rob Hewett said that since launching the scholarship in 2017, $160,000 has been awarded to 32 young people. “As our business continues to transform into the modern market-led food company we aspire to be, we will need smart, young talent to support that success. Our Plate to Pasture Scholarship continues to attract and inspire the leaders of tomorrow and we’re delighted to set these young people on the path to a bright future in our sector”.

The Youth Scholarship recipients were:

  • Dominic Morrison, Otago
  • Ella Zwagerman, Southland
  • Georgia Moody, Manawatu
  • Izabella Hurst, North Otago
  • Molly Donald, Manawatu
  • Sarah Wilson, Manawatu


For further information please contact:

Ben Thomas

Farmer Marketing Advisor

Silver Fern Farms


027 726 3018




Pictures available on request.

Notes - About Silver Fern Farms:

Silver Fern Farms is New Zealand’s leading processor and marketer of beef, lamb, mutton, venison and associated products to more than 60 countries.

The company’s vision is to become the world’s most successful and sustainable grass-fed red meat company.

The company operates processing facilities throughout the country, employing more than 7,000 staff.

Key markets in New Zealand, China, North America, the United Kingdom and Europe, Asia, and the Middle East are supported through a network of international offices.

Silver Fern Farms Co-Operative Limited and Shanghai Maling own Silver Fern Farms Limited in equal partnership.

Silver Fern Farms was the first New Zealand red meat company to:

  • develop a sustainability strategy, launching its Sustainable Chain of Care in 2016, setting aspirational targets across 8 material issues to achieve by 2020.
  • verify its carbon footprint and set an emissions reduction target
  • become a member of the Climate Leaders Coalition and the Aotearoa Circle.