Farmer milks re­wards

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery -

Matthew Webb de­cided against head­ing to univer­sity when it came to boost­ing his farm­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tions. In­stead he opted to take on the Na­tional Di­ploma in Agribusi­ness Man­age­ment through AgITO.

It has since helped him and his wife, Mar­cie, to ne­go­ti­ate the pit­falls of lower or­der share milk­ing, and keep their farm­ing busi­ness on the fast track to achiev­ing some high goals.

‘‘The prob­lem with go­ing to univer­sity was the time out from farm­ing it was go­ing to in­volve. I just felt I was go­ing to get where we wanted to be slower by tak­ing that time away from dairy­ing,’’ said Matthew.

He com­pleted the di­ploma af­ter 18 months of in­ten­sive project work and 16 days of in-class tu­tor­ing. In hind­sight, it was no co­in­ci­dence that Matthew fin­ished his di­ploma just be­fore land­ing a big lower or­der sharemilk­ing job on the Hau­raki Plains, milk­ing 600 cows.

He said the di­ploma helped him se­cure a job over a large num­ber of other ap­pli­cants.

He be­lieves his mo­ti­va­tion and success in com­plet­ing the di­ploma played a role equal to his farm­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in land­ing his cur­rent po­si­tion.

He is also glad he com­pleted it be­fore leap­ing into sharemilk­ing, with key ar­eas he needed to fo­cus on in the job clearly de­fined by the course.

Opt­ing to take on a job in a re­gion reg­u­larly pro­duc­ing 60kgMS/ha less than the Waikato av­er­age has been balanced with Matthew’s im­proved un­der­stand­ing of risk man­age­ment.

In the own­er­ship-risk man­age­ment mod­ule he learned to closely as­sess the twin risks of pay­out volatil­ity and pro­duc­tion un­cer­tainty in the dryprone plains re­gion.

‘‘You can­not change what the pay­out will be, but you can smooth out the in­come through the year to bal­ance those un­knowns of pro­duc­tion and pay­out.’’

Look­ing be­yond the im­me­di­ate farm for in­come has led them to buy and lease out 30 milk­ing cows, with an ad­di­tional 50 ris­ing two year olds for next sea­son, mean­ing a high yield­ing in­vest­ment is also solid eq­uity for fu­ture ex­pan­sion.

‘‘On the cost side we learned to closely look at our bud­geted ex­penses, us­ing DairyNZ bud­get tem­plates, and we have kept to those bud­gets, to the point we run farm work­ing ex­penses 50 per cent be­low the dairy base av­er­age for the re­gion and lower or­der op­er­a­tors.’’

The Na­tional Di­ploma in Agribusi­ness Man­age­ment is struc­tured into sep­a­rate mod­ules and cov­ers busi­ness/fi­nance, tax­a­tion/ in­vest­ment, re­source

Photo: SUP­PLIED

ACHIEVER: Matthew Webb com­pleted a Na­tional Di­ploma in Agribusi­ness Man­age­ment through AgITO.

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