2017 got off to an exciting start for Hereford Prime with the announcement of Chairman Laurie Paterson’s New Year’s Honour for his services to the New Zealand beef industry.
Laurie was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
His contribution to the beef sector is second to none but of particular significance are his contributions to the establishment of the Hereford Prime branded beef programme, the introduction of Breedplan and the contribution he has made on the board of NZ Herefords.
Hereford Prime brand manager Natalie Campbell said Laurie can only be described as a pioneer and innovator of the industry and his dedication to the Hereford breed and the beef sector has been entirely voluntary and often at his own expense.
“We are extremely proud of Laurie’s contribution to the industry and as a brand and breed are very privileged to have him in our corner,” she said.
She went onto say that while Laurie is a Hereford man he is dedicated to the improvement of the beef industry as a whole.
“Because of this Laurie commands a great deal of respect and admiration from breeders across all breeds – what he’s contributed is not solely for the benefit of the Herefords,” she explained.
Hereford Prime was the pioneering branded beef programme in NZ and was established even before the quality mark – some consider the conception of Hereford Prime the catalyst for quality table beef in NZ and this is reinforced by the raft of other branded beef programmes that have been developed since. Laurie has been a director of the brand since its inception in 1992 and has been chairman since 2000.
Laurie also played a pivotal role in the introduction of Breedplan into NZ, a software programme that is now used by all the main beef breeds to calculate estimated breeding values (EBVs). He has also served tirelessly on the board of the NZHA. He was a councillor from 1991 to 2010 and was president from 1997 -1999. In 2016 he was co-opted back to join the NZHA board.
While on the board of the NZHA in the early 1990s he was a vocal supporter of the establishment of Performance Beef Breeders – the business developed by Angus and Hereford in combining resources to provide streamlined administration services.
Humbled by the New Year’s Honour Laurie is quick to point to the influence of the late Don Goodall who worked alongside him on the implementation and development of Hereford Prime and also the introduction of Breedplan.
Laurie said Don Goodall had quite an influence on him as a “young bloke” and passing his inspiration on for all things NZ beef and Herefords.
“He had an unwavering, lets go forward no matter what attitude,” recalls Laurie.
He recalls Don, or DG, buying his own scanning machine and travelling up and down NZ scanning all breeds of cattle to allow Hereford Prime to get a better understanding of the meat and fat colour and marbling traits that already existed in the Hereford breed.
“It was all done at his own expense.”
His extensive contribution has been made often at his own cost and often it has meant leaving his family and own farm business for days at a time attending meetings and negotiation contracts.
Laurie admits to being wary of the envelop that contained the news of his honour.
“It turned up looking very official and I thought it was a speed infringement notice, so it sat on the bench for a while before Sharon opened it.”
In receiving his New Year’s Honour Laurie said he was very humbled and acknowledged the support of his wife Sharon who ran the farm “in all weathers” when “I was often away”.
“She juggled a farm and young family. When you have snow up to your elbows it isn’t easy. But she was more than capable. My family is great,” he said.
He also added that honours like this are “seldom achieved on one’s own so thanks to the members of the all the councils and boards from back then to now that engaged in the discussions to make for better results.”
Laurie will attend an investiture ceremony to officially receive his Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit from the Governor General, Dame Patsy Reddy later this year.
He is also the second director of Hereford Prime to receive an ONZM and he joins Jan Wills who received the same honour in 2015.