City schoolboy has big farm dream
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.