Dairy farm­ing was the best choice

Matamata Chronicle - - What’s On - ABBY BROWN

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

males

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.

PHOTO: ABBY BROWN

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.

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