Business Rural North Autumn 2022

52 | Providing superior genetics to farmers Richard Loader RURAL SERVICES » One Stop Ram Shop Surrounded by nomads in a tent three thousand metres above sea level in Iran and on the edge of the Iraqi border, Robin Hilson had a life shaping eureka experience. A phone suddenly rang out causing a rapid search of pockets till the cell phone was located hanging from the top of the tent. Robin quickly realised that no matter where he was he could maintain phone contact with the Middle Eastern farmers he was trying to help to develop their ancient sheep businesses. “I’ve kept those contacts ever since. I can ring Tehran and various places and know I will reach people, and that makes doing business from New Zealand so much easier.” Well known within the New Zealand sheep industry, Robin is the enterprising owner of One Stop Ram Shop (OSRS), a leading Hawke’s Bay based provider of pure-bred and stabalised cross-bred sires. “My prime objective is to provide superior genetics to New Zealand farmers. For thirty plus years OSRS rams have been sold to every part of rural New Zealand. Exporting sheep genetics has become very important and possible because of performance recording undertaken since the 1970s. OSRS genetics have gone to Chile, Uruguay, Argentina and are planned for Iran, Georgia and Brazil.” Helping to improve the Iranian, Georgian and Brazilian sheep industries has presented an interesting and fascinating opportunity for OSRS. “The farmers are wise, experienced and conservative; wonderful characters,” says Robin. “Iran has been particularly interesting. They initially approached me to make comment on their sheep industry and I’ve spent months in Iran over ve separate visits. I have hosted Iranian parliamentary members to farms and factories round New Zealand, establishing strong links and major plans to in uence their huge industry that encompasses fty-six million sheep.” While Covid and trade sanctions have put a hold on progress, the plans for developing the Iranian sheep industry are still in place and OSRS will eventually supply genetics. “The sheep in Iran haven’t changed since biblical times and they are asked to grow wool, meat and produce milk. Currently they do those three things very poorly. They need new genetics. If only for something like hybrid vigor you would end up with a better result. Their farmers and Government people are so capable that all we have to do is set things up and it would go from there. They are marvelous people, they are generous people. They are sheep people.” Neighbouring Silver Fern Farms’ Takapau meat processing plant, 12 kilometres south of Waipukurau One Stop Ram Shop is a at, 250ha farm set up for ease of recording and moving stock. All sheep are recorded with Sheep Improvement Ltd (SIL). The woolshed doubles as the of ce and an ideal site for visitors and large international groups, of which there have been over two hundred visits since 1990. Numerous international groups of Chinese, English, Australian, Dutch, Finns, Irish, American, South Americans and Iranians have visited OSRS and trips to their countries have followed. In 1987 Robin established Sheepac, a jointventure between farmers and MAF, which successfully introduced ve European sheep breeds into New Zealand. The sheep originally brought in were Texel, Finn, Gotland, White Headed Marsh, Oxford Down. “There had been no introduction of sheep genetics for about forty years prior to that and so they were new breeds to New Zealand. It became apparent that I was selling a whole range of animals so I called myself ‘One Stop Ram Shop’. The sheep breeds we market now are; Texel, Perendale-Texel, Texel-Suffolk, Wiltshire, ¼ Finn1/4 Texel-1/2 Kiwi ‘- which is a Romney/Perendale combination - Finn, Finn-Texel. We also have 650 ewes on feeder farms in Hawke’s Bay, Nelson, Wellington and South Canterbury, where the farmers breed ram lambs for me. They come to OSRS to be reared and the highest producers are sold in Spring.” With a long career in the industry of his choice, Robin re ects that sheep people worldwide are practical and caring. “I think that’s why people contact us.” 0274 428 850 kustomprintnz Print Signs Promo Apparel Marketing Web Agricultural Cultivation | Hay | Baleage Barley & Feed Requirements Kevin Hermansen: 027 485 5755 Email: Proud to support One Stop Ram Shop Bramwell Bate’s team of around 30 have significant experience providing first class legal services to clients in Hawke’s Bay and throughout the country. Five Directors work alongside a team of highly skilled Associates, Solicitors and Legal Executives, all supported by an outstanding administrative crew. With a broad range of expertise ranging from conveyancing, corporate and commercial law, employment law, to family law and criminal law, Bramwell Bate is one of the only full-service law firms in Hawke’s Bay. Directors: Kevin Osborne, Leah McHardy, Christine Symes, Roger Philip & Edward Bostock Ph: 06 872 8210 | Email: | 205 Hastings Street South, Hastings Finn-Texel ewe hoggets at Ohakune (top and above left). Quarter Finn Texel (above right). Robin Hilson in white hat in Iran. The Amel mountains are high and this is the only way to reach the nomads living with their ocks at 3000m.