The Bell Family

Introducing Benlea Farm…

Benlea has been run by the Bell family for the past 25+ years. Traditionally we have run it as a sheep, beef and cropping farm over the past few decades. However…times are changing and as many farmers know, if you don’t adapt and change with them, you get left behind.

We have huge challenges to face as a farming community; as we watch our global population explode, we see first hand what the strain is on our resources and watch as the land requires more and more inputs to get something out of it.

We know in our minds it’s not sustainable. Our wallets straining to pay ever-increasing expenses certainly is not sustainable. The failing worldwide health systems overrun with nutrient deficient people definitely is not sustainable. So what can be done?

That is where regenerative agriculture comes in, not only to ensure the survival of farming, but to work towards the sustainability of our planet.

The owners

Sam left school at only 16 years old to come back and help run the family farm, as his father battled with long-term Parkinson’s disease. He never went to university, farming is his absolute passion in life and he knew from a young age that was what he wanted to do. After nearly 40 years of farming, this passion remains as strong as ever!

Sam and his wife Cathie have owned Benlea for over 25 years. Sam grew up next door on his family farm Bayfields. Years later, Sam and Cathie decided to purchase Snowy Peak, a 900 acre high country block to add to the diversity of their farm. This now makes up part of a 3,000 acre farm combined of fertile flats and rolling hill country along with steep tussock land where they run 5,000 Romney sheep and 400 trading cattle.

Your tour hosts:


Cathie has been running farm and garden tours for over 20 years on the property. She is highly passionate about her extensive 1 hectare country garden. Nothing is better than being out working in it and creating a work of art for her family and many others to enjoy.


Katie has been back on the farm for a few years. With a background in accounting but deciding that was not the right path, farming offered a life working outdoors with the land and the animals and made for a far better fit. She runs her own team of dogs and works with the cattle and sheep year round on the property.

Cathie and Katie will host you during your time on the farm

Why is it important to us to run farm tours?

We feel that getting people out on farms is extremely important. Everyone should have the opportunity to know where their food comes from and to see it was produced in a way that looks after the land and its animals.

We love what we do and we love sharing it with as many people as we can. We want to make sure that what we pass on to the next generation is there for many years to come. Many farmers in our amazing country are achieving mind-blowing things with regenerative agriculture and thanks to their generosity, thousands more (including our family) have now been able to start down this path. So come and see what we’re doing to create a future we can be proud of!

Check out our tour page to see which one best suits your group. We look forward to meeting you here soon!

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