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Farming Fast Five

Farming Fast Five

We ask a farmer five quick questions about farming, and what agriculture means to them. Today we talk to Hayden Dorman, Mid Canterbury farmer and chair person of this year’s South Island Agricultural Field Days.

1. What did your journey into farming look like?

Like most of us I come from farming background, it’s in my blood.

My parents and grandparents came off farms in the Selwyn and Ellesmere area. The dream of working for myself was what we got me out of bed every day.

2. Tell us a bit about your farming operation?

I was working for myself dairy farming, but but for the last five months I’ve been working on a 430 hectare property in Mitcham.

We do a mix of drystock, dairy grazing and cropping.

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

I guess there is lots, every day.

For me personally, I am dyslexic, so when it comes to numbers, I’m great, I can do it off the top of my head.

But with reading and writing I’m not so great, so with seven staff members, I had to think how to get information across, and we all learn differently.

Phones really help, pictures and WhatsApp groups are great too.

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

Starting at the bottom and working my way up to lower order share milker , moving to 50/50 share milking and leasing a large farm.

Seeing the farm improvement.

I’m a cow mad person, so breeding cows was hugely satisfying for me.

What you can achieve in a short time frame.

Most of all though, it’s the people you meet along the way and those lifelong connections.

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

Don’t be scared to go against the grain.

The dairy industry in New Zealand is amazing, but don’t be a sheep.

Bankers, consultants and lawyers will try and tell you the solutions.

But you have the guts to do what drives you, not them.

Big is not always beautiful.

Going forward, we need to stick together as farmers, whether we are dairy, sheep, beef cropping or horticulture.

We cannot throw other farmers under the wheel.

We need to work together as one if we want to fight those who don’t understand farming life.

As told to Claire Inkson