Central Plains Water Ltd Central Plains Water Ltd

Nourishing a nation and enhancing an environment.

“Farming organically means a dedicated focus on consumer needs, environmental sustainability and future planning.” Kelvin Hicks

Willowmere organic farmer, Kelvin Hicks, runs a high-tech mixed cropping business on a 200-ha property at Hororata, in Canterbury, utilising water from the Central Plains Water Limited (CPWL) scheme as a Rakaia Source Shareholder.
Kelvin’s primary focus is organic farming, cultivating market vegetables and various crops such as milling wheat, buckwheat and green leaf barley.
As a certified BioGro producer, Kelvin supplies supermarkets and wholesalers with a range of fresh market vegetables, including carrots, potatoes, onions and beetroot. The farm’s organic accreditation means they avoid using herbicides or pesticides, relying instead on inter-row cultivation, mechanical weeding, and natural fertilisers like compost and rock minerals to promote soil health.

A vision for the future
When asked about the lessons he has learned, Kelvin says it would be to always keep innovating. “Don’t get stuck in your same old ways, always look for new options or ideas,” he says. “We’re innovating and looking at farming differently. It’s almost a reverse role in that we’re regenerating many parts of the land now. We’re having to think outside the box.”
The Hicks are exemplifying the shift in modern farming that is about working in balance with the environment, healthy soil is the main foundation of every organic system and is the cornerstone of organic farming methods. “We are working hard to protect the land for future generations.”
Surety of water
“Extensive use of cover crops and compost, microbiological inputs and finely tuned fertiliser applications ensure high-value vegetable crops.” Add to this access to a consistent and reliable water supply has brought newfound certainty and diversity to the operation. Water surety allows us to start selling earlier in the season. “Onions, for example, require water at precisely the right time to ensure timely delivery. Before having irrigation, predicting such occurrences was challenging. Now, we can offer reliability in supply,” Kelvin explains.
Through implementing sustainable organic practices, Kelvin has transformed Willowmere into a thriving and environmentally conscious operation, ensuring the delivery of high-quality organic produce. Like us, Willowmere Farms share a vision for sustainable water growing our world.