24 Feb 2017

Let's Shake On It

From Country Life, 9:20 pm on 24 February 2017

Rob and Lydia Armstrong's house at Conway Flat was badly damaged by last November's earthquake. The sheep and beef farmers hope to start rebuilding as soon as the insurance paperwork is signed off.

With every aftershock, the Armstrong's farmhouse becomes more and more dilapidated.

Rob and Lydia are hoping to start rebuilding as soon as all the insurance paperwork is signed off. In the meantime, they have rented a cottage a few kilometres down the road.

"We've felt a bit in limbo over the past three months so to have a decision on what's going to be happening in the future is going to be really good," Lydia says.

The sheep and beef farmers lease the property from Lydia's parents (her grandparents built it in 1956)

The land stretches from the coast, over the rugged hills to State Highway One.

However, the recent drought and the low wool and lamb prices are making farming increasingly difficult, so Rob and Lydia have had to think outside the square for other income streams.

"We've been diversifying; my parents started with the Kaikōura Coast Track and also a joint venture forestry project, so we're branching out from that into carbon farming as it has better returns than beef and sheep farming".

The couple is also leasing 22 hectares of coastal land to market gardeners who, because of Conway Flat's micro-climate,  are able to grow broccoli and lettuce over winter.