Matamata farmer Maurice Turner can have a number of ‘orphan’ cattle on his Morgan Rd farm at any time. And whether stay until they are fully grown or will be fostered out to another farm varies.
Maurice is the co-ordinator for Mobile Missions Maintenance’s livestock donating scheme.
An international-based organisation, MMM’s vision is to see “the Church empowered and equipped with adequate facilities appropriate to God’s mission”. The New Zealand branch was established in 1994 and has an office in Te Awamutu.
Money raised from the livestock donating scheme is used to maintain church buildings, churches, residential facilities of church workers, orphanages, or youth camps – both in NZ and overseas.
Maurice could be considered the backstop for the animal donating programme. “If there is a calf-rearer who has completed the rearing job and cannot carry the animal for any longer and I cannot immediately find someone to graze it, then the animal will come to my place.
“Sometimes I carry them until they are finished but I try to find another home for them.”
Currently, 18 farmers either donate a calf, rear a calf, or graze an animal until it is finished.
Most of supporting farmers are from the Waikato or Te Puke at this stage, but they could come from anywhere in NZ.
Maurice says some people do the job from beginning to end. “Sometimes it is people on small holdings who rear the calf and it is then moved onto a farm to finish off.
“Donated milk powder and calf meal makes the job easier.”
MMM is also well supported by stock carriers, who move cattle around promptly and efficiently. The abattoirs will credit any animal with the MMM eartag directly to the organisation’s trust account.
Maurice has been co-ordinating the programme for the last six years. “In that time we’ve seen some growth, partly because we know there is more awareness and more people are donating an animal, but [the growth] is also due to an increase in the beef payout.
“And people do this out of the goodness of their hearts. It may be they want to donate and support a good cause but they are cash poor and donating an animal works well for them.”