Mark and Wendy Smyth purchased Piripiri Station, located in the King Country, in April 2006. In 2014, they expanded their operation, buying a neighbouring farm and extending their land to 2400ha, (1820ha effective, including a coastal lease of 200ha effective).
The Smyths say they chose First Light after developing a keen interest in the progress of Wagyu cattle as opposed to traditional breeds. And Wendy, who holds a Bachelor of Consumer & Applied Science majoring in Japanese and food science, says she was hooked on the story. “Consumers are choosing not only a superior tasting meat with incredible nutritional attributes, but a happy grass-fed product that can be traced back to the grower,” she says. “The First Light team fronting the story has integrity, marketing innovation and is driven to produce a quality protein to top end consumers.”
Both Mark and Wendy are sports-mad, enjoying everything from rugby, cricket, hockey and tennis to horse-riding, and diving and fishing the clear waters near their home. Mark, who graduated Lincoln University with a Bachelor of Commerce (Agriculture) belongs to the farmer-led initiative King Country River Care. “We’re very proud of our provenance, our coastal influence, the native bush and healthy rivers surrounding us,” he says. “We endeavour to produce a healthy, happy sustainable product without compromising the growth of future generations going forward.
And that’s reflected in the animals they raise for First Light. “Our dedication to animal welfare is very important to us,” he continues. “It feels good to grow a nutritious product without human intervention - just pure grass as well as good animal health and stock management practices.”