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