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NZ Prison Farm Recognized With Achievement Certificate
September 8, 2016

The Otago Corrections Facility’s dairy farm has been recognized by Fonterra with a certificate for a season of producing grade-free milk and an achievement certificate for low somatic cell counts, placing the farm in the top echelon nationwide for milk quality.

Grade-free means the milk meets the highest quality standards and a rise in somatic cell counts is a precursor of possible mastitis.

For the past nine years, the farm has been supplying milk to Fonterra while training prisoners. The 135-hectare dairy farm lies outside the prison grounds at Milton and runs 350 cows. Although it runs like a standard dairy farm, the herring bone milking shed has been set up to allow training to take place during milking.

Led by industry instructor Tony Russell, prisoners can undertake a National Certificate of Agriculture and gain unit standards to Level 3 in agriculture in a variety of farming skills.

Russell says he is proud of what he and his team of instructors have achieved with their trainees.

“Over the past year we have had nearly 50 prisoners earn their certificates on the farm, with many leaving prison directly into employment,” he says. “These are men who are qualified, keen and loyal employees who want to make a new start in their lives, work hard and are curious to keep learning.”

“It is great to be recognised with this award,” Tony says. “We are a training farm and in addition to the recognition of our farming practice, this certificates shows the men that the work and training they are doing can result in a world class product.”

This is not the first time the prison dairy farm has been recognized. In 2010, the farm won two awards from Fonterra and in 2012 was also a winner in the Otago Farm Environmental Awards. The farm’s milk quality has continued to improve every year to a point where in the 2014-2015 season, the farm was first placed in the top 1 per cent for somatic cell count, and has been grade-free for the past two seasons.



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