Chris Trengrove, an esteemed figure in the Canterbury pig farming community and a stalwart leader in the industry, has been lauded for his remarkable contributions to New Zealand's pork sector by receiving the prestigious Industry Lifetime Achievement award.
With a visionary career spanning decades, Trengrove's impact has been felt not only in his innovative farming techniques but also in his dedicated service to industry development.
Hailing from the serene expanse of the Canterbury Plains just west of Christchurch, Trengrove's journey into agriculture embarked from a vastly different field - banking. The late 1980s marked a significant pivot in his life as he transitioned from finance to farming, and his commitment to excellence quickly came to the forefront.
Trengrove's influence on the New Zealand Pork sector has been multi-faceted, notably during his tenure of 15 years on the NZPork Board, nine of which he steered as Chairman. His fingerprints are indelibly marked on key industry advancements, including the pioneering PigCare welfare assurance program and an extensive review of import health standards, underlining his dedication to the overall well-being of the sector.
Renowned for his progressive approach to pig farming, Trengrove engineered an ingenious purpose-built farrowing system with the aim of minimizing piglet losses — a testament to his commitment to animal welfare. In addition, his trailblazing work in introducing artificial insemination to outdoor pig herds in New Zealand further solidifies his reputation as an innovator.
Brent Kleiss, NZPork's Chief Executive, acknowledged the profound imprint Trengrove has left on the sector.
"Chris has invested time and energy serving our sector and New Zealand agriculture over many years and established international links with pork industries, researchers and organisations," he said.
"He also has a deep commitment to research and pork industry training."
Alongside Trengrove's honour, the 2023 Stockperson of the Year award celebrated the remarkable achievements of Tayla Steele and Regan Driever.
Joining Stanley Brothers pig farm in Taranaki straight out of high school two years ago, Driever achieved his NZQA Level Three in Pig Husbandry and has plans to extend his studies to his Level Four in 2024.
“I’m always learning something new,” Regan said.
“There’s so much involved - nutrition, pig welfare, biosecurity and I really enjoy working with the pigs.
“I see it as a long-term career and I’d encourage any young people interested in the sector to apply for work experience and see what they think.”
Steele, who transitioned from the realm of thoroughbred racehorse studs to Patoa Farms in North Canterbury, was recognized for her exceptional work ethic and commitment to learning. Having obtained an NZQA Level 3 qualification in Pig Husbandry, Steele's narrative reflects the diverse paths that lead individuals into the rewarding world of pig farming.
"I’d never had anything to do with pigs but knew a few people in the industry and they enjoyed it. I really like working with pigs," Steele said.
"They are inquisitive, smart and playful."
Trengrove's lifetime achievement award stands as a testament to the transformative power of dedication and innovation in the agricultural sector. As the New Zealand pork industry continues to evolve, the indomitable spirit of individuals like Chris Trengrove and Tayla Steele serves as a beacon of progress and excellence.