Our lamb is grown by our family of ranchers. They care for their animals and land with the utmost compassion and consideration. Many are tending third, fourth and fifth generation ranches and they’re aware that their ancestors worked hard to create the land and lifestyle they call home. For them, growing high-quality lamb with respect to the natural environment is a way of life and a passion.
Our ranchers work with the natural eco systems of their land and aim to keep the environment as pristine as possible. Many of them have set aside areas on their ranches for conservation purposes, focusing on regenerating the land and water.
We ensure our lamb is fully traceable from the shelf back to our ranches.
There’s rich ranching history in our family. My ancestors, John Milsome Jury (an early settler) and Te Aitu o te Rangi (a local Maori girl), married and started tending the land. Now Susannah and I work the land and raise our children here. The ranch is a great place to grow up. It’s a place where kids can be kids. We would like one of them to take over and be the 7th generation here, but ultimately, we just want them to be happy. That’s what it was like for me. There was never any pressure; I was just doing what I enjoyed. When it comes to the land, we’re custodians, we’re looking after it for the next generation. With the animals, it’s the simple things that are important. We give them shelter, plenty of food and none of the bad stuff. It works for us. And hey, we’ve been doing it for over 150 years now, so we must be doing it right!
We’ve been supplying Atkins Ranch for more than 20 years. My great grandfather ran the ranch in the 1930s and 40s, and my father was the rancher from 1975 before I took over in 2008. I knew I had big shoes to fill but never saw it as daunting. It was just heads down, get to work. Now it’s my chance to leave my mark. Katie and I respect this land we work on. We’d like to leave it in better condition than when we arrived. We’re really proud when we look at our animals. Everything’s in beautiful condition. I guess healthy animals raised on grass without antibiotics and GMOs comes naturally to us here in New Zealand. And that goes with the current worldwide push for healthfulness. We’re pretty happy we’re taking our quality product to the world.
For us, ranching is about solid, honest relationships. We care about family, we work together and we treat everyone as equal. It’s these things that were important to our ancestors, it’s how our family works now and it’s how we work with others. We look to build long-term relationships. With three generations of Sansons working this ranch together, communication is key. Open discussions are encouraged, egos are discouraged. My 87-year-old father is still an active part of the business, which is decades of experience to draw on. My son Tom is set to take over, so there are a few perspectives on the day-to-day decisions. We trust, we listen, and a little humor gets us through too! We’ve been supplying Atkins Ranch for 10 years and we’re proud of the product we deliver. Getting the best out of our animals is simple really: if you look after them, they’ll look after you.