Every month we talk to a South Island Young Farmer.
Here is what Nick Blom, from Balfour Young Farmers, had to say.
1. What is the name of your club, and how long have you been a member?
Balfour Young Farmers, 3 years (since the club has got back up and running again)
2. What has been the highlight for you of joining Young Farmers and what are the benefits and experiences that you feel have helped you most?
The best experience has been realising that there are actually a lot of young people in the area, that are wanting to engage in social activities.
It’s really cool to be a part of reinvigorating the club to be able to accommodate that.
3. How did you become involved in agriculture?
I grew up on a farm and never wanted to do anything else!
I went travelling and worked on different farms overseas after a year at university, which made me realise that New Zealand is the best place to be a farmer.
4. What is your job now? Tell us about your role, and what your journey has been like so far.
This year is my first year of contract milking with my wife in Balfour, northern Southland.
We milk 580 cows on 208ha of which this farm is owned by my parents.
Once I returned from overseas, I managed this farm for four seasons before progressing to contract milking.
5. What do you think the future of farming will look like, and what would like to see happening in New Zealand agriculture going forward?
I think that the future of farming is going to see more efficiencies, i.e. more solids per cow, grow lambs out faster, through better genetic gain and more skilful feeding knowledge.
Also, technology will hopefully become more affordable to everyone which can help pick the top 10% of efficiencies that we can’t see as quickly.
Going forward I hope that we can still have profitable farming business on smaller blocks, rather than having to be large scale factory farmers.
Quality should always beat quantity, so hopefully people long into the future view farming as a passionate lifestyle rather than just a job.
6. What are your future plans?
Keep milking cows and create efficiencies by adding value to our milk rather than getting larger (in terms of land area and cow numbers).
We would love to start a small cheese making business on farm to provide a quality product, and connect the consumers to what good looks like in the dairy industry. Farm ownership of the place we are on now, is definitely the end goal we are chipping away on in the background.
7. Who has been your biggest inspiration in agriculture, and why?
My old man and my mum.
They’ve given me an amazing opportunity and got the balance right of letting me make my own mistakes but also only being a phone call away if I need it.
They’ve set a good example of what working together as a good team looks like.
As told to Claire Inkson.