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Sirref ‘living and breathing their vision and values’

Sirref ‘living and breathing their vision and values’
James Mansell, with partner Bonnie Fulton, is an equity partner in a 50:50 sharemilking position on Sirref’s Mansir Sharemilking.

Tim Dawkins admits he was not one to plan but he says being involved with Sirref had changed his thinking regarding his future.

He first started working for Sirref in 2002 while completing his Diploma in Agriculture at Lincoln University after he saw a position advertised on the student job board.

His diploma requirement was to complete 12 months practical work experience of which three months needed to be dairy.

Coming from a sheep and beef background he wasn’t initially planning on a long term career in dairy but quickly developed a strong relationship with the Ferris family and enjoyed the challenges the Sirref business provided in his role.

““The dairy industry is so progressive and it’s helped to give me direction towards my goal of farm ownership,” he says.

After finishing his diploma he went back to work for Sirref full time and has been there ever since. Tim worked from 2002-2008 for wages progressing from farm assistant to a farm manager position.

“The learning and growth I had during that time and by being able to work alongside the Ferris family across their farms has set me up for the next step in my career.”

Tim was attracted to the group dynamics of an equity partnership and the continuation with Sirref.

He and his wife Rebecca then entered into an equity partnership with Sirref on Dipton Dairies in 2008, Wendon Dairies in 2012 and Wether Hill Dairies in 2015.

“As a partnership, we all have input and aligned goals for the business. One strength is the power of multiple brains and ideas to look for solutions or to look to improve in areas, as well as having ownership to build equity,” he says.

“Sirref continually look for growth and continually challenged me so we have grown together and I’ve never needed to look for outside challenges. By Rebecca and I being involved with Sirref we’ve been able to fast track our business and it’s helped us to grow skills outside of cows and grass, assess opportunities and we’ve been introduced to some good rural professionals such as bankers and accountants. It shows that if people come into Sirref, work hard and prove themselves it can really open up options.”

Rebecca says it’s rewarding to be part of a family business that has strong leadership and professionalism.

“Sirref are living and breathing their vision and values, they are on the ground with our team and are giving back to our community which we have so much respect for. I look forward to seeing what we all collectively achieve next.”

Scottie and James are two staff that have progressed through working for Sirref.

James Mansell, 32, started with Sirref in the North Island by chance after a friend asked him to fill in for him while he had surgery.

After that stint he immediately went to work on Sirref’s Southland Dairies unit at second in charge and then as a manager on Dipton Pastoral under Tim and Rebecca.

James is now just reaching the end of his first season as an equity partner in a 50:50 sharemilking position on Sirref’s Mansir Sharemilking.

James, who didn’t come from a farming family but was part way through studying IT when he decided to give farming a go, says it would have taken him another decade to get to this position without the Ferris’ help.

“John said he only took this sharemilking job on to give me the opportunity. They are very constructive people – they tell you what you’re doing wrong but also how to fix it and provide help along the way. They are there to help you progress rather than leaving you on one farm as you’re doing well there.”

James currently owns 10% of the sharemilking job and his plan is to gradually buy out the Ferris’s shares.

Scottie Richmond, 31, went farming when he finished school and started working for Sirref through a friend of Tim’s.

He worked at Dipton Dairies and Dipton Pastoral in 2008 as a manager before recently entering an equity partnership with Sirref on Wendon Dairies.

He says he’s had bigger opportunities with Sirref, for example being able to skip contract milking and go straight to an equity partnership.

“I’ve worked hard and everything has fallen into place. The opportunities have always been there and each year we sit down and talk about the direction I want to go. I also like the fact that everyone can contribute ideas and no one person has all the say.

It’s good to work under a big umbrella with a lot of people. Because it’s a family operated business the Ferris family are on the ground. It’s not someone who sits in an office and turns up in his flashute and his flash suit. They are doing the long hours as well. I find that I have a lot of respect for them.”

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