City school­boy has big farm dream

Wairarapa News - - FRONT PAGE - HEATHER CHALMERS

Grow­ing up in a city all his life hasn’t stopped An­gus Grant from be­com­ing a farmer, even be­fore he has left high school.

Grant, 15, al­ready has a flock of 50 ewes that he will lamb this spring.

From the Christchurch sub­urb of Pa­panui and de­spite hav­ing no fam­ily farm­ing back­ground, Grant has al­ways known he wanted to be a farmer. ‘‘My mother had been read­ing me a book about cows and my first word was cow.

‘‘I watched Coun­try Cal­en­dar when I was three and that was it.’’

The year 11 St Bede’s Col­lege stu­dent got his spring­board into farm­ing life, aged 10, when he met Al­lan Find­lay, a South­land farmer who was vis­it­ing a neigh­bour­ing house at Pa­panui that he owned.

Since then, Grant has been spend­ing his school hol­i­days at Find­lay’s Ohai sheep, beef and deer farm. ‘‘That’s where I get all my skills from. When I first started I was just open­ing gates. Now at lamb­ing I have a few pad­docks I look after my­self.’’

Sav­ing his pocket money, Grant started his farm­ing en­ter­prise with eight lay­ing hens, sell­ing the eggs. They were housed on a nearby sec­tion, left va­cant after the earth­quakes. Hen num­bers in­creased to 80 un­til Grant had to sell them a cou­ple of months ago as a house was be­ing built on the sec­tion.

His sheep farm­ing ven­ture started when his fa­ther, Peter Grant, gave him three sheep for his 11th birth­day present. ‘‘I kept them at a friend’s lifestyle block. I saw an­other lifestyle block, fenced it and started get­ting more sheep.’’

He now farms sev­eral blocks of land, in­clud­ing lease blocks at Gar­diners and Hussey roads, near Christchurch Air­port. He has a five hectare lifestyle block at Hal­swell and an­other 3ha block near Rolle­ston which he has planted in lucerne.

As Grant doesn’t yet have a driver’s li­cence, he re­lies on his fa­ther, a builder, to trans­port stock in his trailer.

‘‘My dad has been very sup­port­ive, learn­ing about sheep the same time as I have and help­ing me to check on them.’’

While he has a base flock of 50 ewes, he plans to lamb al­most dou­ble this num­ber in spring by buy­ing in-lamb ewes. Now he has more land and cap­i­tal, he is also buy­ing store lambs to fin­ish and sell.

While he has pre­vi­ously stud­ied agri­cul­ture at St Bede’s, he has since switched to ac­coun­tancy and eco­nomics. ‘‘I re­alise that if I want to own a farm I may have to do some­thing else to help.’’

He plans to go to Lin­coln Uni­ver­sity, study­ing pos­si­bly ac­coun­tancy or agri­cul­tural science. ‘‘My main dream is to own a farm, but it’s quite hard, es­pe­cially with no farm in the fam­ily.’’

School­boy An­gus Grant farms his own flock of sheep on the out­skirts of Christchurch.

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