Teamwork the name of the game

Teamwork the name of the game
Manawatu Share Farmers of the Year Richard and Wendy Ridd (pictured with son George) also picked up the LIC Recording and Productivity award at the national awards.

For Richard and Wendy Ridd, teamwork and recognising each other’s skills and strengths are the keys to farming success – keys that contributed to being named 2018 Manawatu Share Farmer’s of the Year.
It was the second time the couple had entered the awards; the first occasion being three years ago when they were in their first season as 50/50 sharemilkers on the ancestral farm in Ashhurst owned by Richard’s parents, Andrew and Caroline Ridd.
The couple says the competition process was motivating and valuable in the early stages of setting up their sharemilking business – forcing a close look at all aspects of their business.
For their efforts that year they won the Pasture Performance merit award. Entering this year, Richard and Wendy found the same benefits that they did the first time round.
“It really highlights your weaknesses so that you can work on them and make them a strength,” says Richard.
Wendy agrees, adding that it made them look inside their business and robustly stress test what, why and how they were doing the things they were doing on farm. Richard sites examples of looking at the real cost of cropping on a kilogram basis and the cost of different types of crops.
“In terms of HR and health and safety we have lifted our performance to where it needs to be.
We’ve always had a strong culture around health and safety but it does push you to make sure you’re aware of policy changes.” Wendy makes the point that there is a lot of time and effort put into the competition.
“But at the end of the day that time is valued because you’re putting it back into the business. It is a competition – but you’re actually improving your business by doing it.”
In addition to winning the top regional award, Richard and Wendy also collected merit awards for Farm Recording and Productivity, Farm Environment, Pasture Performance and Business Performance.
Richard and Wendy both come from farming backgrounds and both have Bachelor Degrees in Applied Science through Massey University.
Upon completing her degree, Wendy accepted a place on a bank’s graduate program working in the rural sector.
After two years she decided her calling was more with animals and successfully applied for a role as veterinary technician in Feilding.
With his degree in hand Richard set up a contracting business with his brother-in-law, while retaining a steady foot on the family farm. When the farm’s manager left in 2012, Richard took on the responsibility. Joined a year later by Wendy, the couple have worked very much as a team ever since.
“When Wendy came on the farm she brought with her very good skillsets with her banking/financial knowledge and the vet technician/animal health background. She has really driven our success with a positive attitude as well. We’re 100% a team in terms of responsibility and knowledge.”
Wendy matches Richard’s compliments saying that in addition to all the practical skills required for farming he is very analytical and detailed—an important mindset when trying to achieve goals.
“Richard and his father are both good at the strategic level—thinking outside the box and coming up with solutions which is a big part of farming.”
Joining the family is George. At 18 months old he is the 5th generation to walk the land that his ancestors have cherished, planted and farmed for over 100 years.
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