Chris & Anne-Marie Allen - Growing the dream
Smart technology rules at Annadale. From a smartphone, anywhere in the world, Silver Fern Farms’ Plate to Pasture Award winners Chris and Anne-Marie Allen can monitor rainfall, check the soil moisture and, yes, even watch the grass grow on their 360-hectare sheep and beef property near Methven. But the farm’s most important feature isn’t a piece of kit: it’s the farmers’ commitment to consistently supply quality, pasture-raised food to the consumer. Chris and Anne-Marie both grew up on farms – he in the Waikato, she originally in Central Otago then Geraldine, which is 40 minutes from Annadale (her father Frank still farms there, aged 82). But both had settled into successful city-based careers before they bought the farm on Frank’s advice. Chris was an Air New Zealand aviation engineer, Anne-Marie a computer accountant. Those may seem a long way from agriculture but a large part of the couple’s success is due to harnessing, and reinventing, those very skills to suit the business of farming.