Celebrating Agricultural Heritage with Roger Cotton

Celebrating Agricultural Heritage with Roger Cotton

Within most rural communities, there's someone who's pretty good at putting their hand up to help, and one of these in Lawrence in Central Otago is Roger Cotton. He's a farmer, a rugby coach, a trustee on several historical trusts and he's also a trustee member of the Century Farm Awards

The conversation delves into the Cotton family's enduring commitment to local governance and agriculture, which spans over a century. Roger reflects on the significance of chronicling and honouring the narratives of family farms.

"Once you got involved in that, it sort of led to this and led to that... It's just giving back to our community really and I enjoy doing that," he says.

His dedication to preserving these stories is rooted in a belief that understanding the past is essential to shaping the future. The conversation also shines a light on the Sesquicentennial Awards, which commend farms like the Matthews and the Mattley-Fergusons that have thrived for 150 years. Cotton explains the simplicity of the application process for the Century Farm Awards.

"There's a little bit of stuff to put together, but no, it's pretty much a one-page [application]." 

He encourages those eligible to participate, underscoring the value of such recognition.

"People are proud of their history and they want to share it with people... this is a good way to acknowledge that and also to record it for all time." 

Cotton's tales of his family's lineage illustrate the tenacity of those who toiled on the land, highlighting his great-grandfather's gold mining ventures that laid the foundation for the family farm. 

"So you're on the back of a lot of people, your ancestors, who have done a lot of hard work," he remarks, encapsulating the gratitude he holds for his forebears. He reminisces about how the family farm originated from gold mined at Gabriel's Gully, and how they are "still there today." 

This conversation is a testament to the resilience and deep-seated connections that define century farms. It is a narrative tapestry interlacing the history, challenges, and achievements of agricultural legacies, encapsulated by Roger Cotton's own words, "If you're going to look forward, you've got to look back and recognize how you got to where you are."

Listen to the full chat between Roger Cotton and Dominic George above.

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