Waitomo News : 13 May 2014 NKC Farmer
Tuesday, May 13, 2014 9 ANZ Bank New Zealand Limited ANZ1551/NKC anz.co.nz/rural Patrick Harridge, ANZ Waikato Agri Manager. He’s been here so long he’s almost part of the landscape. Patrick knows the Waikato farming community well. In fact, he’s been a part of it for the last 12 years as an ANZ Agri Manager. With almost 30 years experience in the finance industry and time spent helping out on the family’s dairy farm, Patrick has a great understanding of agriculture and an even better understanding of agri business in the Waikato. Patrick is part of ANZ’s dedicated Agri Business Team of 34 industry specialists providing expert local service to the region. To find your local ANZ Agri Specialist, visit anz.co.nz/rural or call Patrick himself on 07 837 8623. FROM P8 They milked 250 cows on 74 effective hectares in the first season. The herd is Jersey, partly because a lighter animal is more suited to the property. “We put on capital fertiliser the first year, but we’ve still got a long way to go towards building up good dairy pasture,” says Zach. “The whole herd went on once a day before Christmas because we didn’t want to stress the pasture or the cows. “They held well despite the drought and the empty rate was very good.” There is still fencing and other essential con- version work to do so going once a day early also allowed more time for this. The shed is built to 40-a -side, but only cupped to 32 at this stage. “We’ll slowly build up cow numbers and see what happens,” says Zach. Having gone through an expensive extension of the home farm shed after purchasing the neigh- bour’s property, they decided it was more cost effec- tive to build in the extra capacity from the start. ‘Do it once, do it right’ is his mantra. “The farm is ticking along very well, allowing me to put more energy into my work off farm,” he says. “But at the end of the day I’m a farmer who part of the week happens to wear leather shoes to work, instead of gumboots. “In order to influence the dairy industry some- times you have to operate outside the farm gate, but keep your gumboots mentality. “I love the authenticity of farming and I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing. “Farmers are making a huge contribution to New Zealand’s economy and I like being a part of that.” At the same time he admits to coveting a pres- ence in NZ’s biggest dairy industry. A big fan of the Fonterra business model, he studied with a career there in mind. “I like what the co-op is doing. “I believe in the collective strength going forward and I think people would do well to remember why it evolved. “When times are tough the collective shines through.” Keeping all the balls in the air is a challenge, but Zach feels he is getting the best of both worlds. GETTING FARMERS INVOLVED Putting on his Federated Farmers’ hat, engage- ment is the big issue of the moment and he would like to see more people involved. There used to be a branch in every area of the district and everyone attended meetings. Now there’s just one branch covering all of Otorohanga and few attend. “I don’t know why, except that perhaps Feds used to be the primary source of much information which is now available online,” says Zach. “Or is the industry so bogged down in compliance issues, farmers don’t have any spare time?” As branch chairman his key priorities are strong representation, lifting farmer engagement, sus- tainability, advocacy to ensure productivity and profitability are maintained within the region and industry, and effective monitoring of local govern- ment on behalf of farmers. “Decisions made for farmers should be made by farmers,” says Zach. “I think you need farmer representation in the room to make sure you get the fairest outcome. New head for local Feds “Federated Farmers is a great step for young people wanting to get in- volved in the politics of farming. “It offers very good leadership courses for people passionate about the future of the industry. “It’s a fantastic opportunity to have your voice heard.” GROUND WORK: When he’s not in Auckland working with the team which operates Fonterra Co-operative Group’s $15 billion milk payout fund, Zach Mounsey is on a tractor breaking in low-lying land on his family’s dairy conversion north of Te Kuiti.
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