As a dairy farmer who has gone into partnership with a farmer/ rural banker, Roger has experienced the benefit of tapping into the knowledge and support of rural professionals from day one.
Roger and his wife Kathy bought their farm as an equity partnership with Craig and Jo Young 10 years ago.
Roger works on the 400 cow farm full time, while Craig milks every second weekend, and in the calving and mating seasons, Craig does the morning milking before heading to work in Te Awamutu as a rural banker.
“Your rural banker can be a valuable team member,” says Roger.
“They provide another sounding board when discussing financial decisions around things such as buying in more feed and making significant investments. Involving them can help ease financial pressure.
“Many rural bankers have a farming background, so they understand the different pressures and decisions farmers are facing,” says Roger.
Tapping into industry expertise
Roger says establishing a group of trusted rural professionals to call upon for advice and support is valuable for the business.
Defining your business goals and finding an adviser who works in line with them is key to gaining the most from the relationship, says Roger.
“I’ve been working with our farm adviser since we bought the farm. I initially called on him a lot to talk through decisions and establish direction. Even now I still make sure we meet at least once a year to have a good discussion about everything.”
His local vet is another rural professional he considers a valuable team member.
“Vets obviously have a world of knowledge on animal health, but their services extend beyond treating sick animals; they can also help with feeding decisions, cow condition and providing proactive strategies for things like preventing mastitis. They bring a lot of ideas to the table.”
Value of discussion groups
Roger highly recommends attending DairyNZ discussion groups, especially for farmers who are just starting out in the industry.
“Discussion groups provide an opportunity to think things through, review decisions and get advice and ideas from other farmers.
“They keep you motivated and looking for new solutions and ways of doing things.
Particularly when you’re new, it’s good to go along and hear when you are on the right track to give you confidence in your decisions. Or if you’re stuck on something, there’s plenty of knowledge there to tap into.”
This article was originally published in Inside Dairy May 2015