Equity, cash flow keys to ownership

Equity, cash flow keys to ownership
Southland dairy farmers Chris and Samara Wech with family Cruze (12), Maddison (13), Sadie (15), Jesse (9) and Travis (8).

Achieving farm ownership through a series of stepping-stones, Southland dairy farmers Chris and Samara Wech say building equity and creating cash flow have been the keys to success. Their pathway to success is actually quite a story.
The couple farm on a 136ha effective property in Aparimia, 10 minutes out of Otautau, a property they sharemilked on for six seasons before buying it from the owner.
Chris grew up in a farming family in North Island. His father owned a tree nursery and also did contract fencing.
Owning a couple of house cows and rearing calves and pigs, the family also did some relief milking within the local community and that is where Chris got his passion to be a dairy farmer.
“I left school in the early 90’s when I was 17 and did a cadetship with the Waikato Polytech before coming down south with a sharemilker in about ‘94. I worked for him for a couple of years and then went herd managing, before going overseas for a couple of years.”
Retuning to New Zealand, Chris and Samara went contract milking, building up their savings, buying a little dry stock block in the second year and doing some dairy grazing.
“While we had the asset we weren’t getting the cash flow from dairy grazing,” explains Chris.
“So in 2007 we borrowed from the equity in our drystock block, bought 400 or so cows and went sharemilking on the farm we now own. The cash flow from sharemilking helped to repay the loan we had taken out from the equity on our drystock block.”
A few years into their sharemilking, Chris and Samara converted their drystock block to a small dairy unit with 240 cows and put a contract milker on it.
Chris says that for about eighteen months they were drawing an income from both their sharemilking job as well as their own little dairy unit.
At the end of their 6th season as sharemilkers the farm owner offered the couple the opportunity to buy the farm, so they sold their own little dairy unit and made good on the opportunity.
Now in the fiurth season as dairy farm owners Chris says farm ownership was always something that he and Samara wanted.
“It provides good stability. That’s the thing about dairy farming, apart from the last few years, the cash flow can be very good. But if you can get an asset behind you as well as the cash flow and if you are clever enough you can get ahead. It’s about working hard really.”
Being your own boss and the lifestyle, even with the days that aren’t so good and being at the mercy of the weather gods, are key reasons why Chris loves his farming life.
He says his five kids, aged between 8 and 15 are all helping out on the farm now – they like the pocket money they can earn helping out in the shed and odd-jobs around the farm.
He’s sad about the effects of M-Bovis though, saying that it is so hard on the families that have put so much money into their herds and now the cows are being killed.
“I just think that killing innocent cows is wrong. I think that it’s a ‘fire and brimstone’ sort of thing leaving a lot of families in limbo.”
This article was brought to you in association with the following businesses…

Related Posts