If you haven’t yet had the pleasure we’d like to introduce you to Shane Webster, a stalwart at Mountain River Processors. Shane started his career at 17-years-old back in 1983 and is passionate about deer. “They’re such a majestic animal, especially in the wild” explains Shane, “I collect a lot of deer stuff: antlers, statues, whiskey… you name it!”
Shane's deer and agate collection
Shane has been in the industry for a long time and the Production Manager at Mountain River Processors since 2003. Prior to landing the manager role, he worked in every aspect of the factory floor, from being a worker on slaughter to each station of boning. This vast experience gives Shane the unique perspective to deliver new cuts for our customers.
Going to extreme lengths, Shane says that “if a customer wants a specific cut, I’ll take the time required to give it a go and make it work.” His commitment and passion mean that Shane is often the first to arrive at the factory in the morning and the last to leave in the afternoon.
Shane enjoys friendship with many Mountain River customers and has an open invitation for all the Community to come through the for a tour of the factory. If you’re reading this, that means you! Like us, you’ll be surprised and impressed with how clean and efficient the factory is and also about what they’re doing with the product. Shane especially hopes more of our farmers came through for a look.
What’s more, Shane has an open invitation for Community members to go hiking and enjoy some of New Zealand’s most beautiful scenery, with him as your guide. To have a taste of this, take a look at his Instagram profile and reach out to become friends with Shane on Facebook.
Shane notes that having a friendship with customers means that when there’s an issue he can make sure to get it right. Because of the personal connection, there’s a much better understanding and communication with those he knows.
This personal connection extends to going above and beyond for our suppliers. A farmer will send a deer in to the factory and say they want it for their freezer. Shane will task the team at Mountain River Processors to bone and carve it, before ageing it in the in the chiller for a week. For Shane, this is not about making a profit, “it’s part of the service”.
Because of its’ size, Mountain River Processors can do a lot more of the tricky stuff. Processing around 35,000 deer each year, there is time available for extra “frilly cuts” and during busy periods, when needed, Shane can bring on more staff to cover more volume.
Shane takes a continuous improvement approach with work at the factory, to keep lifting our quality and continue raising the bar.
What makes him even more unique, Shane also helps out on the farm at Northbank Station. When Adam was short-staffed and looking for more hands, Shane offered his services. As you may have read, Northbank Station has undergone a lot of development in the last few years and, with the farm located around the factory, it makes sense.
Shane has a background in farming from growing up and working on the sheep farm his father managed. Now, he enjoys learning as much as possible about live deer including weaning. What’s most important to Shane is that if the farm’s going well there’s a follow-on effect to the factory and in supporting marketing efforts.
A candid snap of Shane closing a gate after deer had crossed the road (see video below)
Rounding up his unique take on the industry, Shane has a great friendship and long-standing working relationship with Chef Graham Brown. Shane is Grahams ‘go-to’ for preparing product for trips and through this connection he has a direct link to the market. When Graham asks, “this is going to do well, can we make it work?”, Shane can go into the factory and make sure it does.
In this way, the market and production are able to talk directly with each other to make sure the product is going to work.
Shane observes that “without Graham, the industry wouldn't be where it is. That’s another reason why I’m so passionate about venison, there are great people like him who are leading the way and pushing creativity with the product.” Once again, it’s the personal touch and connection with people that motivates Shane.
As they say, “it takes one to know one”, and it’s fair to say that Shane is one of the most reliable, hard-working and friendly members of Mountain River and our Community.
A lot of care is taken to make sure the deer cross the road safely from Northbank Station to Mountain River Processors.