From self-proclaimed townie to farmer and environmental advocate, Jane Hutchings is a 54-year-old dairy farmer from Okaihau, Northland, New Zealand. She is married Roger with two adult children.
This remarkable woman grew up in Nelson and attended Nelson College for Girls. She left in the seventh form to become the school grounds-person to complete her pre-Lincoln University practical. Her twin sister was in class while she mowed lawns and attended gardens.
Back then in 1981 her career teacher said, "there was no future for females in agriculture" so Jane went into horticulture as all she wanted to do was work outside.
Jane met Roger Hutchings at Lincoln college while he completed his Diploma in Agriculture. After a year back in Nelson working for the Ministry of Works landscaping, Jane moved to Northland with Roger.
Up north her first job was picking Tamarillos and then at a garden centre. Once she was married she became the farmhand milking 250 cows with Roger on the family farm. She finally fulfilled her dream to be a farmer. Wouldn’t her careers advisor like to see her now?!
Fast forward 30 or so years and the couple now milks 700 predominantly Pedigree Ayrshire cows on a little corner of paradise. Guests are always treated when guided through stunning native bush to stumble upon a couple gorgeous private waterfalls. All on the family farm!
In 2014 this admirable team was the Northland supreme winners of Ballance Farm Environment Awards - Northland Region. They entered with the intention to tell a good news story and showcase that farmers can operate a sustainable farming business that is both productive while having minimal impact on the environment.
Jane takes great pleasure in being actively involved in the Puketotara Landcare Group, of which their farm proudly belongs. She traps for stoats, weasels, rats, and possums on the farm and neighbouring properties to protect the population of North Island Brown Kiwi that live naturally on the farm.
"Every year we do Kiwi listening and their numbers are going up. It’s fantastic and rewarding not only hearing kiwis on farm, but also being able to see them while getting cows in on the way to the shed."
Jane, we are proud to know you and showcase all of your hard work. You are a gift to our industry and your contributions are sure to last for generations to come. Thank you for all of your hard work and investments. We are glad you followed your dream and didn’t listen to that careers advisor!