Our philosophy to be socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable underpins everything we do here at Melior.
Our desire to be ahead of the game extends to genetics, economic and environmental management, and social change.
At the heart of our business is the desire to produce the fastest-growing, commercially efficient animals with outstanding temperaments.
We believe better people make a better company, so Melior has an upskilling programme for staff, which not only helps them achieve their individual personal growth goals, it also helps the team deliver to our customers’ needs.
Environmental compliance is at the heart of all farming. New genetics, techniques, innovative solutions to better manage the environment and technology adoption sees us invest heavily in the health and well-being of our land.
Passionate, dedicated and future-focused, the team at Melior are what makes our business great.
Sam is really passionate about helping young people find the stepping stones they need to become involved in the deer industry. She loves encouraging women to realize the value they bring to an inherently male dominated industry, and backing their ability to be instrumental in its success.
Sam always said “deer are like women, intelligent, beautiful and if handled and invested in well, very profitable to any business” ;).
Favourite quote by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
“Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History”
With an Agricultural Science Degree (hons) from Lincoln University, Tom’s background is in Farm Management, with a systems focus. With New Zealand’s challenging and diverse climates, Tom places great emphasis on understanding the needs of the particular farming system before pairing it with the correct genetics.
Having a passion for genetics from a young age, which started with Angus cattle and led to deer, the purchase of the Genetics business was a natural progression for Tom and wife Sam, as they had used the genetics in their commercial venison operation and seen the significant difference they had made. This also allowed him to identify the areas where improvement was needed.
Tom also have a big passion for meat and sharing the experience with consumers. Spending time overseas understanding who consumes the products we work so hard to produce in New Zealand is something he feels more farmers need to do
“In constantly evolving businesses and farming landscapes the Genetics we produce have to evolve as well.”
Sam & Vic
Sam Bishop & Victoria Butterick joined the Melior team in June 2020. Sam takes over as Farm Manager with 10 years’ experience in the wider agricultural industry having worked on numerous sheep, beef and deer properties throughout the country and comes from sheep, beef and deer farming family in South Canterbury.
Vic plays a support role for the Melior team with her focus on farm environmental planning, primarily for the business Lumen Environmental, ensuring a sustainable future for our farming businesses. Both Sam and Vic have a deep passion for the agricultural sector, and love being a part of a business that strives to produce the highest quality animals for its farming customers.
Tim and Sarah
Tim came to Melior Venison as a fresh Lincoln graduate from Lincoln University, after being bought up in Kurow.
Six years on and Tim is into his second year of managing the day-to-day running of the farm.
Sarah is a school teacher in her spare time outside of looking after their almost 2-year-old son George.
Tim is a keen dog trialist and is vice president of the Hilton- Gapes Valley Collie Club.
Jake has a passion for breeding programs, and breeding animals that are the most profitable under Melior’s clients’ farming environments.
Jake started the Deer Improvement genetic program in 2003, after 25 year experience in dairy cows in the Northern Hemisphere.
At present, he is also involved in breeding programs for dairy goats (DGC), dairy sheep (MauiMilk) and dairy cows (LIC).
Boyd is responsible for the genetic data management and assisting with decisions in relation to Melior’s breeding program. As a former employee of LIC, Boyd has been involved in the breeding program since 2010. He carries out this role in parallel to his primary job working for BREEDPLAN in Australia. Boyd has a Masters Degree in Animal Breeding from Lincoln University, a PhD from the University of New England in Australia and extensive on farm livestock genetics experience.
Sherryn has been part of the team at Melior Genetics for 2 years, with eight years working for Deer Improvement before that. Based in Queenstown, she looks after all administration tasks as well as lends a hand on the farm when required. A keen skier, when she’s not at work in winter you’ll often find her taking to the slopes.
Melior is a family business run by Tom and Sam Macfarlane and began life as Deer Improvement Limited (DIL).
DIL was established by Livestock Improvement Corporation in 2003 to produce the fastest growing red deer venison genetics for New Zealand farmers.
Melior Venison (formerly known as The Kowhais) farms 800ha with 5,500 head of deer wintered. The six-year development of the farm increased the deer numbers from 10% of stock units to 80%. As part of the development, genetics were a priority and something we have always been interested and passionate about, regardless of the livestock species. Through this process, a lot of our breeding goals aligned with those of Deer Improvement. Natural progression and passion for deer led us to the Deer Improvement farm and business in 2017, in partnership with family, John and Melinda Macfarlane.
We see our commercial background as a major strength. We look at our stock through the same eyes as our clients. We want the same things as most of our clients do and can therefore help them achieve their goals. Listening to feedback and adapting rapidly is crucial to the success of our clients and therefore our own business.
When we purchased DIL, we recognised that it was time for a brand re-positioning to reflect our new structure and approach.
Melior (pronounced Mee-lee-or) – which is latin for “better” fits perfectly with our business and sums us up well; we always striving to better ourselves and our operation so we can deliver the best value to our clients.