Muller Station has been crowned the Westpac Osgro Seeds Marlborough Farmer of the Year 2023, leaving competitors in the dust with their high-country enterprise that's raising eyebrows and livestock alike.
The Satterthwaite family, helmed by the dynamic duo of Steve and Mary, along with their farming prodigies Alice and Ben, have emerged victorious in what's being hailed as the most competitive year yet for the prestigious title.
Simon Harvey, the competition chair, gushed about the calibre of this year's entrants.
"The Marlborough Farmer of the Year competition for 2023 attracted excellent entrants and was highly competitive," he said.
Harvey explained some of the factors that led Muller Station to their victory.
"Muller Station won due to a combination of top financial performance from a very productive sheep and beef flock, careful land management, and good governance."
"Their attention to appropriate genetics has shaped a high-producing Merino, suited to their environment and top commercial cattle herd."
The fact that the entire Satterthwaite squad is in on the action just added another string to their bow, Harvey said.
"One of the key strengths of the business is that all members of the family are actively involved in running the farming operation."
Muller Station isn't just about quantity; it's about quality too. Nestled in the heart of Marlborough, the Station covers a whopping 38,860 hectares, playing host to Merino ewes that boast an impressive 6.3 kilograms of 19-micron wool on average. Almost 70% of that coveted wool is snagged by big-name clothing companies like Icebreaker and DTI.
But Muller Station isn't just about farming; it's about championing environmental causes too. Steve Satterthwaite is a wilding conifer control advocate, dragging policymakers to the backcountry to witness firsthand the environmental challenges. Mary, the powerhouse behind the operation, is all about self-sufficiency, managing the wool clip and crunching numbers with finesse.
Muller Station walks away not just with a significant cash prize but also a treasure trove of in-kind prizes, thanks to the generous support of local sponsors including Westpack who expressed their thoughts on being involved.
"Westpac is delighted to sponsor such a prestigious competition in Marlborough. Congratulations to the Satterthwaite family for winning this year."
Osgro Seed Services also chimed in with their hearty congratulations.
"The competition represents farming excellence in our region which aligns strongly with Osgro Seeds values.
"Congratulations to Muller Station and the Satterthwaite family in winning this year's competition."
In the world of farming, Muller Station isn't just a winner; it's a trendsetter, a family-driven force of nature that's proving excellence isn't just a goal – it's a way of life.