Some of Alan Cudmore’s hardy Wiltshire lambs are being recruited into the IHC Calf & Rural Scheme to help out the fundraising programme that has been hit hard by the Mycoplasma bovis bacterium.
Alan is one of a number of sheep farmers who have responded to the call by IHC National Fundraising Manager Greg Millar for sheep farmers to stand alongside dairy farmers in supporting people with intellectual disabilities.
Last season IHC’s Calf & Rural Scheme raised $760,000, only half its usual income in what was a very difficult year for many dairy farmers.
Alan, his wife Sheila and their business partner Sue Brooks lamb early in the season on their remote sheep and beef farm in north Taranaki. They donated a lamb last season and have pledged another one or two for this year.
Alan has a special concern for people with disabilities. After a 23-year career in engineering and logistics in the British military, serving in the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Royal Air Force and the Territorial Army, Alan trained as a teacher and worked with special needs students. In 2000 he moved to New Zealand and started teaching at Stratford High School, where he worked in the Hub that catered for students with special needs.
But he had long wanted to follow his grandfather into farming and after a two-year search for a property he and his wife found Ōkoki farm, where they farm 150-200 easy-going Red Devon cattle and 400 Wiltshire ewes. The Wiltshires are a no-fuss breed too – shedding their wool so shearing is unnecessary. The farm is 15 kilometres north of Urenui and 30 kilometres from Waitara. It’s a steep 700-hectare property and they work only about 250-300 hectares with the rest in native forest and bush, including stands of rimu and tōtara. Around 100 hectares are preserved under a QEII Covenant.
“We have let the mānuka come back – we have our own bees in here as well,” Alan says.
Alan says prices for sheep look like being higher than last season. “I am hoping for over $150 a lamb. We have said if we have a really good lambing then I think you will probably get two.”
The best way for sheep farmers to support the new Lamb Programme is to go to ihc.org.nz/lamb and donate a virtual lamb for $150. Farmers can also pledge a real lamb or sheep at this same website, or simply say “One’s for IHC” at sale.
Photo caption: North Taranaki beef and sheep farmer Alan Cudmore is keen to help support people with disabilities.
This story was published in Community Moves. The magazine is posted free to all IHC members.