Strong culture wins Plate to Pasture Award

Strong culture wins Plate to Pasture Award Johnstone Family - Allen, Jo, Lily and Harry

4 November 2021

Serving nine for lunch is all part of a day’s work for Allen (Williams 1984-1988) and Jo Johnstone.

Winners in the Silver Fern Farms Plate to Pasture supplier awards for 2021, Allen and Jo of Wallace Johnstone Ltd run a bull, beef and finishing steer operation. They winter 1800 trading cattle, mate 5500 breeding ewes and carry 200 replacements.

Allen and Jo were winners of the Western North Island Prime Beef Award and finalists in the Bull Beef category by outshining the other 16,000 suppliers. When the judges visited their farm, Jo wowed them with an Asian twist on scotch fillet, a meal that would appeal to their customers and could be recreated at home.

Head judge Melissa Sowden noted that Allen and Jo epitomise what the judges were looking for in a Silver Fern Farms Plate to Pasture Award winner.

“The systems, processes and policies on this farm were next level, and their future focus on environmental sustainability was clear.”

“The Johnstones already include indigenous biodiversity and carbon reporting on their farm. They’ve planted an impressive 12,000 natives in the last two years, with plans for another 5,500 in the next year. Their property boasts 250ha of lush regenerating native bush, demonstrating their commitment to environmental sustainability,” she said.

Jo Johnstone attributed their success to the strong team culture they have built on farm.

“You’re nothing without your team and we’ve spent a lot of time creating a culture among our team. We love our people, and we’ve built that into the culture.”

They understand what it is that consumers are demanding now and into the future, and they’re gearing their business to match and exceed these market expectations.

Allen expressed his surprise at having been chosen among such a strong field. Allen and Jo’s prize includes an international in-market tour.

Allen said, “obviously this won’t happen for a while with Covid-19, but hopefully it’s on the radar soon.”

In the meantime, Allen and Jo enjoy having their two children, Lily and Harry (Williams 2015-2019), return home to the farm during their university holidays.

While Allen and Jo are past parents of St Paul’s, Allen is also on the School’s Foundation Board as a Director where he is involved in managing the Foundation’s forestry portfolio.