Family and relationships paramount

Family and relationships paramount
Thomas and Jennifer Read were multiple winners at the Hawke’s Bay/Wairarapa NZ Dairy awards, including Share Famer of the Year .

Nervous leading up to the event; Thomas and Jennifer Read, both 28, were recently awarded the 2018 Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Share Farmers of the Year title.
The couple also received Merit awards for Energy Farm Environment, Pasture Performance and Business Performance.
Thomas and Jennifer are in their fourth season sharemilking on Thomas’ parents, Shane and Lydia Read, 90ha property in Dannevirke, milking 260 kiwi-cross cows. From fl at to rolling and in the land of the Tararua ranges, Thomas says it’s beautiful country.
“I always say it’s the best kept secret in terms of farming. Every day is slightly different. I employ one part timer to help through spring and relief milking through the rest of the year. I also employ local teenagers just giving them a bit of pocket money over the school holidays. Otherwise it’s just myself.”
He says that by going through the competition process, he and Jennifer have been able to document a lot of the information about the farm and how they would like to run the farm going forward.
“It’s helped us focus on what we’re trying to achieve and how, fi ne tuning it as we go and enabling us to better articulate what we require of staff. The key driver for that has been doing the dairy awards.”
Growing up on dairy farms, Thomas says that as a ‘young fella’ he was always drawn to cattle and loved working with them. As he has got older and seen more of the dairy industry he loves the opportunities dairy provides.
“You can go from manager to sharemilker within a few years, to land ownership if you do well enough. What’s more the future looks bright for the farming industry.”
A qualified secondary school teacher, Jennifer has a city background but now loves the rural ifestyle and that Thomas can be home for breakfast and lunch to spend time with the family. With two children aged under two, family life is busy.
Jennifer is currently a stay-at-home mum but takes an active role on the farm and in the company at board level as well as documenting farm policy and procedures and overseeing the health and safety aspects of the business. The farm is very much a family run business and everyone works together, explains Thomas.
“Knowing that I was passionate about farming, Mum and Dad kept the farm so that I would be able to buy it off them slowly as part of succession planning. They have been working alongside us, encouraging us to grow.”
Thomas says family and family relationships are paramount for their business and they are working to ensure it remains that way.
“We want to make sure we are graceful, loving and kind in everything that we do in the business – to each other particularly.”
He says as a family they are starting to establish what they defi ne as the 100-year business goal.
With both sets of proud parents at the dinner Thomas says it was a particularly proud moment for his parents. It is the culmination of decades of work, and heralds a bright future.
“My parents started this business 25 years ago. We will be running it and growing it for the next 40 years and we have kids who are growing up and we want them to succeed us—be it in farming or something else.”
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