Mai Farm festival

November 29th saw a great turnout at the Mai Farm naturally century farm festival. The Mai family has owned and farmed this parcel of land north of Ashurst (Manawatu) for 100 years. Reuben Mai who is currently farming the farm is the 5th generation on the dairy farm.
The farm is in its 3rd year of transition to certified organic under the Asure Quality certification supplying Fonterra’s organic dairy programme.

With over forty exhibitors and a dozen or so bands the celebration was complete with a beautiful sunny day, a river to swim in and of course plenty of people.

Mata Brewery served beer all day and the over 1000 visitors enjoyed wood oven pizza, BioFarm yoghurts, One Love range of hot foods, Coral Tree drinks, baked potatoes and so much more. The exhibits ranged from organic fertiliser and animal health products to clothing and produce. The Horizons’ Regional Council and Palmerston North  City  both had displays dealing with farm and home garden matters. A particle display taught a keen range of visitors how to build using rammed earth.

The under ones were catered for with face painting, bouncy castles and of course the river. Stunt horse riding drew the crowd ever hour and music just kept flowing.

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Mai Farm

Rueben thanked all those who had volunteered in putting the day on and was ‘rapped with the turnout and the great feel of the day’.
Mike and Kathleen Long-Hughes,  organic farmers from Dannevirke had brought their children and calf club calves to the day. There is a renewed call by Federated Farmers for farmers to inact with the urban community and boy that was happening at the Mai’s. Kathleen had this to say; ‘While we were at Rueben's our children took their calves for a walk. It was quite amazing to hear people say (even an adult) "ooh look dear - look at the cows"!!!! I would say the calves were a healthy size, but certainly had a long way to go before they could be classed as a cow!!! There were a number of people whose children had never been close to a calf, so it was a novelty to pat them and some asked if they could take them for a walk (which they did). We showed them how gentle they are - that you can put your hand in their mouths and they will suck your fingers, but not hurt. One woman (the one that thought they were cows) let one of the calves suck her hand and then promptly turned to her friend who said "Do you need this (holding a little bottle)", the reply "well what do you think - its been sucking my hand". For anyone that hasn't guessed, it was disinfectant!! Fortunately, being an organic calf, I am sure its immunity can fight off whatever she could have passed on to our poor calf.’

These calves were seen at the Mata bar (one of the calves is named Steinlager), and handled by many people as they were lead around the event. 

Bill Quinn of OrganicAg had a steady stream of farmers, mostly non-organic, asking questions and realising how close they were to certified organic systems. Many did not realise the returns organic farmers are getting for dairy and especially sheep. While some of these farmers were small block holder the majority were larger units from Ohakune to coastal Wairarapa.

All in all it was a great way to mark one hundred years of family ownership and farming on the same parcel of land, a good looking farm and plenty of happy people.