Awards a chance to learn, develop

Otago Peninsula sheep and beef farmer Paula Cross is passionate about the agricultural sector and helping to bridge the so-called rural-urban divide. She speaks to agribusiness reporter Sally Rae about her latest role.One of Paula Cross’ aims is to make the wider public aware of all the good things that are happening behind the farm gate.

Raising the profile of farming is something the new judging co-ordinator for the Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards is passionate about.Mrs Cross is no stranger to the awards process; she and her husband Brendon were supreme winners in the Otago awards in 2016.

Now she is an enthusiastic ambassador for the competition, encouraging others to get involved and reap the many benefits, as they did.Opening that farm gate was also something the environmentally-minded couple  embraced in a bid to show and educate their urban counterparts about farming.

They have hosted various school visits and have a visit pending from the local primary school as part of a Red Meat Profit Partnership programme in conjunction with New Zealand Young Farmers and CORE Education.Their home, Roselle Farm, 2km from Portobello, is a particularly special spot. For more than 150 years, the Cross family has farmed amid the stunning beauty of the Otago Peninsula.

Brendon is the sixth generation to farm there, taking over the property at 21 following the untimely death of his father Ron.In 1863, Brendon’s great-great-great grandfather James McCartney bought 20ha at the top of Weir Rd and milked cows and fattened pigs.Other properties were  added over the years and, in 1957, Roselle Farm became a sheep farm.