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Farming fast five

Farming fast five

The farming fast five : Where we ask a farmer five quick questions about farming, and what agriculture means to them. Today we talk to Ashburton dairy farmer Stacey Stewart.

  1. What did your journey into farming look like?

I am originally from Tasmania, Australia.

My parents had stock trucks and fertiliser trucks.

The best part of my school holidays was getting up early with dad to go to the sale yards.

A highlight of those days was the bag of minties for 50 cents and getting to clean the truck.

Dad would have the cleanest truck at the sale yards!

In my late teenage years, I started dibbling in farming and really enjoyed it.

Mid-twenties I had 9 months living with my sister in Norway, after that I wanted to spread my wings further.

It was a toss-up between Canada and New Zealand.

I picked New Zealand as it was closer to home, my plan was to come and work for 12 months and then head to Canada.

15 years later, one husband, three children and a dairy farm, I am yet to make it to Canada!

2.Tell us a little bit about your farming operation.

We have a third generation, 180-hectare, 550 cow dairy farm nestled between the North and South Branches of the Ashburton Rivers.

I run this with my husband Mark, brother-in-law TJ and parents in law David and Maree.

We are a split calving herd of pedigree Holsteins.

3. What challenges have you faced in your farming business, and how have you tackled those challenges?

Our biggest challenge was the 2021 floods which hit on 31 May, and we took over the farming operation on the 1st June.

The floods showed us how resilient we are and can overcome any challenges faced. Other challenges are the usual volatility of milk prices, increase in costs and making sure we have it right for future generations.

4. What has been a major highlight for you in your farming journey?

Completing my Diploma of Primary Business Management this year.

Also involving myself with Farmer Time and connecting with urban schools in the North Island, giving them an insight into farming and what is involved and where their food comes from.

5. What advice would you have for the next generation of farmers?

If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door - Milton Berle.

Immerse yourself into as many courses, activities, groups, discussions as you can. Take every piece of advice on board and work out which parts align with what you are wanting to achieve.

As told to Claire Inkson