Attitude, aptitude recipes for success

Attitude, aptitude recipes for success
Dannevirke sharemilkers Mark and Jaime Arnold have changed their farming focus and have bought a sheep and beef farm in Weber. They are currently stocking it before moving onto the farm in May.

With a farming journey that has taken Mark and Jaime Arnold from farm assistant to farm ownership over a 10-year period, picking up a top national dairy award along the way, the couple is positive about their future on the land.
With absolutely no regrets about their chosen careers, Mark says that it has been a massive journey in which he and Jaime have met truly passionate people in the industry only too willing to pass on their knowledge.
While modest about their achievements, Mark and Jaime’s story is one of success and positivity for the industry – it’s about attitude and aptitude.
A decade ago, Mark aged forty, was working in the forestry industry. Originally from Hastings, he was not from a farming background. Jaime, from a sheep and beef background, qualified as a teacher and was working in Napier.
“We had this brainstorm to go dairy farming with the objective of owning our own farm one day,” says Mark.
Moving onto a dairy farm in Takapau in 2008 and starting off as a dairy assistant, the couple found after a few months that while the learning was good, the farm was not right for them.
“Then another position came up in Dannevirke milking 750 cows so we took that and grew from there. We worked for Karen and Russell Phillips who taught us a lot and we learned a lot – we were just big sponges taking it all in.”
While working for the same farm, the couple worked their way up to herd manager, took on a low order share-milking job and then got offered a 50/50 job on the same farm – initially purchasing half the herd then the whole herd.
Mark agrees that dairy farming is not easy – doing 90-100 hours a week in the middle of Spring – it is the toughest time of the year physically and mentally, but one of the most rewarding.
“It is hard work and can be quite depressing when you’re knee deep in mud but you‘ve just got to get on with it and there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.
Everyone else in the area is in the same boat.” In 2016 Mark and Jaime won the Wairarapa/ Hawke’s Bay Share Farmer Of The Year Award, going on to win at national level.
With genuine modesty, Mark says he and Jaime were extremely proud of the achievement given their relatively late entry into farming. He says it was recognition of the hard work that they have put into farming over the last 10 years.
Attitude, aptitude recipes for success
Entering the competition provided a further vehicle for learning and networking with other talented farmers. Mark says that he has a list of people as long as his arm that he can call to pick their brains if he has a question.
This year, Mark and Jaime are on the Hawke’s Bay/Wairarapa Dairy Industry Awards competition committee and Jaime has responsibility for running the competition.
Mark says it’s a great opportunity to give back to the industry that has been so good to them and now he can see young people coming through that he can pass tips on to. Last month Mark and Jaime took possession of their first farm.
A slight change in direction – the couple bought a sheep and beef farm in Weber. They are currently stocking it before moving permanently onto the farm at the end of May.
“We’re very excited about the move. Hopefully what we’ve learned through dairy farming we can take through to our own dry stock farm. And we’ll be able to spend more time with our two children aged 8 and 6.”
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