Yanni seizes second chance
The June 1 changeover marked a new year for sharemilkers across the Waikato, and a fresh start for Matamata farmer Yanni Eleftheridis.
After giving up sharemilking three years ago to work in the engineering trade, Mr Eleftheridis, 51, was given the opportunity to return to farming on land adjacent to his Te Tuhi Rd property.
The farm owners, Steve and Pam Connolly, are his next-door neighbours and were open to taking him on as a sharemilker.
‘‘To be given an opportunity like this at our age is pretty unheard of,’’ Mr Eleftheridis said.
‘‘We see it as a great challenge to start from scratch, scary, but a great opportunity.’’
Mr Eleftheridis moved to the Matamata area in 2002 with his wife Caroline and their three children and spent seven years sharemilking on a farm on Campbell Rd.
Before that, the family were based on farms in Putaruru and Mangatangi and Mr Eleftheridis said he was bringing 15 years of experience to his latest venture.
‘‘I’ve worked on a few very different farms – different soil types, climates, contours. It hasn’t been plain sailing, dairy farming has its ups and downs, but the good times far outweigh the bad.’’
Along with his young farmhand, Mr Eleftheridis is preparing for calving and will start milking around July 15.
Sharemilking came with a huge amount of freedom and the opportunity to see a tangible growth in your business, he said.
‘‘You’re your own boss, of course there’s a farm owner, but the decisions you make on a day-today basis are your own. Having said that, there needs to be a good rapport with the owner, you can gain from his experience and vice versa,’’ he said.
‘‘I don’t really know too many businesses that could grow like share milking, not only do you have an income through it, you also have an appreciating value, which is the herd.’’
As well as a business, he saw farming as a way of life and said it was a great environment to bring up a family.
‘‘I can’t think of anything better. We’re all a really tight unit and we’ve had a lot of time together and a lot of fun and that’s something that I can’t put a price on,’’ he said. ‘‘We love living in the country, we are in such a beautiful part of the Waikato and have the most amazing views.’’
Caroline pitches in with the administration side of things and Mr Eleftheridis said she was an integral part of the business.
‘‘She’s got a really good head on her and I can bounce ideas off her. I couldn’t do it without her. We make a great partnership.’’
Starting over: Farmer Yanni Eleftheridis and wife Caroline were given the opportunity to go back sharemilking after a three-year break.