‘Do your homework first’, farmers told
Do your homework and keep the communication lines open.
That was the message experts had for dairy farmers at a Federated Farmers seminar in Cambridge on how sharemilkers and farm owners could successfully negotiate a fair contract.
Failing to understand the agreement properly was a core reason that disputes arose over contracts, the federation’s former sharemilkers spokesman Ciaran Tully said.
Farmers were running multimillion-dollar businesses and both parties needed to understand what they were agreeing to.
He told the 100 farmers at the seminar to seek independent advice by getting a professional firm or someone trustworthy to look over the contract.
‘‘Professional advice will cost you a couple of hundred bucks, but if you’re looking at a $300,000 to $400,000 milk cheque, is it not worth spending a couple of hundred bucks?’’
Sharemilkers and farm owners needed to referencecheck their business partner before signing anything, Tully said.
That was reinforced by DLA Phillips Fox lawyer Oliver Hobbs.
It was hard to terminate these agreements and it was generally expected that both parties remained in them until the end.
‘‘You need to do your homework first to make sure you can work with this person for that long.’’
Tully said the contract rules should be no different for family and friends.
‘‘Get it all in writing. It saves so many problems down the track.’’