Finding farming excellence in NZ

Ross Hyland reading his book, Our Land Our People, in the company of ‘Luigi’.

Waikato farm consultant-turned-author Ross Hyland describes his new book ‘Our Land Our People – In search of farming excellence’ as “a culmination of the years spent among New Zealand’s farmers and is a snapshot into the lives of a few”.

Ross grew up in Thornton, Bay of Plenty, in a farming family, turning his own hand to dairy farming, sheep and beef, deer, and forestry as an adult.

He has a Diploma in Valuation and Farm Management, and moved into farm consulting in the late-1980s. “I was part of some great farming projects around the Bay of Plenty and Gisborne,” says Ross.

Many around the Waikato will know Ross as the radio voice behind the advert for Seales feed mill, urging people to “get over to Morrinsville”.  Ross grew the business during 17 years from the late-1990s, to become the extensive Seales Winslow business in Morrinsville, Whanganui and Ashburton.

When he sold the business, Ross turned to high profile agricultural consultancy and governance roles. These included principal advisor to Lincoln University and advisor to the Meat Industry Excellence Group.

 “While I was working in these roles, I noticed a rise in negativity towards farming in this country,” says Ross.

“Whereas I was meeting some great people, who have all made tremendous contributions towards their communities and New Zealand agriculture.”

It was his collective experiences over the years, and meeting these farm owners, that triggered the idea to write a book on the positive side that he had witnessed first-hand.

Ross spent two years journeying around the country, interviewing and photographing 24 families he had identified as having an inspiring story to tell. The 160 beautiful photographs illustrate the magnificent and often harsh landscapes that our farmers work with.

“Of course once I started interviewing, stories I didn’t know came out; some historically interesting, others sad and moving, and some just hilarious.”

Ross took care to cover many aspects of farming, including a Maori Trust, two Landcorp/Pamu properties, beekeeping, dairy, beef, sheep, deer, and a vineyard.

“All of them are honest, hardworking people with a real sense of faith and integrity.

“Many have diversified, allowing several generations to make a living on or from the property, rather than diluting assets upon succession.”

The book is a journey from the top of the North Island to Fiordland in the South Island, capturing stories reflect the tenacity and ‘can do’ attitude of the country’s extensive farming community.

‘Our Land Our People – In search of farming excellence’ is available in all good bookstores or email:

Coast & Country News has a copy of ‘Our Land Our People – In search of farming excellence’ by Ross Hyland to give away to one lucky reader.

To be in to win, email your answer to the following question, with your name and address with ‘Book Giveaway’ as the subject line to:

Question: What area of the Bay of Plenty did Ross Hyland grow up farming?

Or put your answer on the back of an envelope and post to Coast & Country News, PO Box 240, Tauranga 3140 to arrive by May 20, 2019. The winner will be announced in our July edition.


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