William & Karen Oliver own Waerenga and Three Rivers farms. Waerenga had previously been owned by Oliver’s family with the two of them leasing the land until 2013 when they bought it outright. They live on Waerenga farm with their daughter and two sons.
Waerenga farm comprises 1,912 acres of land. Here the Olivers raise over 3,000 sheep, over 500 cattle and over 1,700 deer. They also grow about 40 acres of corn, which they sell to the dairy industry.
Three Rivers is slightly smaller than Waerenga at 1,902 acres. Here the Olivers raise over 3,000 sheep, over 300 cattle and over 1,000 deer. They also grow over 123 acres of corn.
What’s rewarding about farming for you?
Healthy animals, living in a beautiful place with clean air, clean water and green grass. We enjoy a happy work environment with our staff and their families.
What’s it like raising venison?
Deer are a beautiful animal to farm. They are intelligent which means we are constantly trying to outsmart them!! The deer on the farm are always watching and are aware of what we are doing, they remind me of a cowboy and indian movie, how the indians are lined up on a ridge watching the cowboys.
After 3 decades of farming deer they have become quite domesticated and are a lot easier to handle physically in the shed when they come in for animal health treatments etc.
How does it make you feel to know Americans are enjoying your venison?
We think it is great, there is a great sense of pride in knowing that a top end product we have produced is so sought after and enjoyed. We feel proud also knowing that our animals have lived a good healthy existence here.
What’s your favorite cut of venison? How do you like it prepared?
Venison tenderloin served with a horseradish cream.
Why do you work with Silver Fern Farms?
We put huge value on working with co-operatives. Nearly all our business is done through co-ops where we can. We do this as we believe it is the only way for us to receive fair value from our end consumer or service supplier….We own shares in all the co-ops we do business with. We are 100% loyal to our co-ops and expect the same back in terms of return, information and industry good.
Goals for the Future
William & Karen’s goals primarily center around further developing their farm land, providing a stimulating & enjoyable environment for their staff, and passing the land on to their children when they retire.