Dairy farming was the best choice
Matamata sharemilker Suzie van Heuven could not imagine going back to working in town.
The Dairy Woman Network coconvenor for the East Waikato group is hooked on dairy farming.
That might not be surprising seeing she grew up on a farm in Waitoa except for the fact that her high school career ambition was to be a vet or a cop.
But while waiting to be old enough to apply for the police force she dabbled in the dairy industry and by 2011, had progressed to farm manager. During that time she was involved in the Ngarua Young Farmers club, where she met her future husband, Alex.
Together hey became 50/50 sharemilkers on a farm near Matamata, where they still are today. ‘‘We are very lucky; we have a good boss, great farm and in a great area,’’ she said.
Suzie has always recognised the importance of having groups that get her off the farm.
She was roped into the DWN role the same way her coconvener Rachel McNaughton was. They both, at separate times, went to collect their free bottle of ProCalf at the Fieldays last year and met the Dairy Women’s network convener co-ordinator for the North Island, Megan Edmeades. This led to an opportunity to take up the role as co- convener for the East Waikato group.
They had a casual coffee catch up for the group’s Christmas break up at The Coffee Shed in Ngarua, a converted cowshed.
Suzie was pleasantly surprised that 50 people turned up to their other event last year, where they were talking about recruiting.
She had also been pleasantly surprised that men had come to the events.
She said some
have mixed views on females in the dairy industry ‘‘There are some who think ‘you’re a girl you can’t, you are not strong enough,’ but most are supportive’’.
She said the DWN helped make women’s contribution to the dairy industry more visible. Their next event, Compost for the Veggie Garden & Farm will be held on February 24 at Wallace corp.
Anyone wanting to contact Suzie to join the group can ring her on 0277109445.
The Dairy Woman Network co-convenor for the East Waikato group, Suzie van Heuven, with some of the calves she raised on the Puketutu Rd farm she and husband Alex are 50/50 sharemilking on.