President ready for the challenge

by Kent Caddick

Ashburton dairy farmer Peter Gilbert is looking forward to this year’s Canterbury A&P Show after taking over the role as president of the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association earlier this year.

The 2017 Canterbury A&P Show will be held from Wednesday, November 15 to Friday, November 17 at Canterbury Agricultural Park in Christchurch.

It’s the largest A&P Show in the country attracting 100,000 people, over 6,500 livestock, equestrian and feature competition entries and over 500 trade exhibitors.

Based in Winchmore, near Ashburton, Peter Gilbert said he has a long association with Canterbury A&P.

“I’ve been on the Canterbury A&P Committee since 2002 and chair of the Dairy Section since 2007,” he said.

“Now it’s my turn to take the top job and it’s a real honour to follow in the footsteps of so many great presidents before me.

“I absolutely love showing and I’m really looking forward to adding to the history of the Association and doing my bit for those that share my passion.” Gilbert first began showing calves at primary school and has been showing Holstein Freisian cattle at Canterbury, Ellesmere and Ashburton A&P Shows for nearly 40 years.

He grew up on a dairy farm in Ellesmere and in the 1980s he and wife Anne bought a 180-hectare dairy farm in Winchmore.

Last year they added to their farming operation with a 176-hectare dairy farm in Rakaia. Their three sons all work in the dairy industry, with Michael running the new block at Rakaia, Nick on the Winchmore farm, and Luke working for Semex New Zealand. Gilbert said he is proud that his three sons have not only inherited his passion for dairying, but also for showing — all three are senior judges for at least two different breed societies.

“It means a lot to have had my sons so heavily involved in the show with me over the years.

“Obviously youth are the future of events like ours and it’s really heartening to see so many great young people that get stuck in at the Canterbury A&P Show, especially in the cattle Section.”