The February months in Central Otago are when produce grows most fervently, making it one of Jenna’s favourite seasons. We’re told that nature takes its course with an abundance of delicious apricots to greengages and plums coming to fruition. Sharing her delight of walking around the farm and spotting a pear tree with fresh growth, Jenna relishes those moments when she can make something of the organic treats. “When we took over there was nothing on the trees, so we actually had no idea what was going to happen.”

Appreciating how lucky they are to experience life on the farm, “There’s no right or wrong way when you’re bringing up a family but for us it makes them (the kids) so aware of their body, their surroundings, and how they manage themselves.”

This appreciation for life on the farm is echoed in the dedication that Jenna and Tony have as growers on the ZQRX programme. Learning more about their ongoing commitment to farming regeneratively, Jenna knows that there’s a certain stigma around the regenerative word, “People get scared by the word but that’s where ZQRX has been really helpful, because what is ‘regenerative’ really?”

A big picture view of the global challenges we all face, regenerative agriculture is about creating a better, kinder, more positive future for the planet. An ongoing and never-ending journey, ZQRX reflects this same ethos and defines regenerative agriculture as a mindset of continuous improvement in an agricultural context.

“It’s not just one thing, it’s a combination and how you approach a lot of different parts of farming and business – that’s where it has been really helpful for us having ZQRX.”

ZQRX challenges merino growers to go beyond sustainability and provides growers like Tony and Jenna with the framework to set aspirational goals for their property, tools to help them achieve these goals and a system to measure and quantify their journey of continuous improvement through regenerative farming.

Surrounded by some of the South Island’s grandest landscapes, it’s no surprise that the family love living at Mount Benger Station, “We didn’t think we’d love it this much, we thought it would be a five-year thing before moving to somewhere else when we initially bought – now you’d be hard pressed to get me leaving here.” Looking around it isn’t hard to understand where this love of the land comes from. In summer months the family enjoy the luxury of living near Lake Roxburgh, going water skiing during the day before having some tea and moving the sheep as the sun goes down.

Making special memories, often Jenna and Tony will make a day of mustering the larger blocks of livestock in warmer months, leaving home at 7 in the morning with the kids and a packed picnic, “You just can’t beat it!”

Photography by
Reagen Butler

Words by
Courtenay Lewis