NZ Dairy Autumn 2022

| 35 nzdairy DAIRY PEOPLE » Milk IQ ‘Farm and family drives everything we do’ Sue Russell Brent and Rebecca Miller are passionate about farming. Not only securing and enjoying their own career pathways but equally in sharing the philosophy that permeates and drives their journey. The couple have this season become equity partners with Andrew and Rachele Morris at River Terrace Dairy Farm near Geraldine. The farm has an effective milking platform of 336 ha and is home to 1150 cows. In all, Brent and Rebecca have been on River Terrace Dairy eight seasons, and are delighted to now be in partnership with its owners. “It’s a substantial step forward for our farming business to be equity partners with Andrew and Rachele, who very much have the same attitude and values as we do. They wanted us to progress further and see our commitment to dairy farming,” Rebecca says. To run this extensive property the couple employ four full-time staff, taking on more through calving. Along with this the couple own a 75ha wintering block and as if that isn’t enough, they are in their third season contract milking for the Morris’s at Ealing Pastures, an even larger block at 435 ha, running a further 1450 cows. Their commitment to the industry is evident in everything Rebecca shares in her conversation with NZ Dairy, and what is really clear is that their success is the result of a view of farming and of the people that work the land that is holistic and deeply caring at its essence. Underpinning how they work with their staff is the attitude summed up simply as ‘treating others as they would like to be treated’. Simple in concept, but not always applied in the farming sector. Prior to moving to River Terrace Dairy Farm, the Millers experienced situations where they felt undervalued by owners, but this negative really set in motion for the couple a strong desire to work in ways that respect the rights and journeys of all their staff. “We asked ourselves, what would we want to change if we were in a situation of employing people. So we place huge emphasis on recognising and supporting each team member and appreciate they have their own career aspirations and dreams. It’s our responsibility and privilege to be part of their farming journey and to enable.” And in a practical way to give back to the sector they are so engaged in, Rebecca and Brent are creating a resource, a tool, for other farmers to use to grow their farming business and secure it in ways that reflect this philosophy. Called Farmily™, the platform will provide guidance and insight into key strategic pillars that come together to secure a profitable, healthy, sustainable farming ‘community’. “By listening carefully to our staff, by being always available for them and by treating our team as fundamentally important to our farming business provides them with the opportunities to grow and learn. Farmily™, farm and family, drives everything we do. And great things happen,” Rebecca says. Benchmarking their performance in the industry has been another pursuit Rebecca and Brent have taken seriously. They have entered, and succeeded in Dairy Industry awards over several years, seeing it as a way to assess the value of their farming philosophy, in terms of real, measurable outcomes. And one of the best outcomes of the Farmily™ approach is that a strong and robust team evolves, capable of coping through the tougher times, that inevitably punctuate anyone’s career in farming. Last year, in recognition of their innovative and far-reaching approach to what farming really is all about, Rebecca won the Canterbury Westpac Champion Emerging Leader Award, competing against all other industries in the region. It’s an achievement Rebecca says they are very proud of, but one they share with their team. With two farms to operate, the couple have engaged two Managers, meaning they are now in a position to enable and support them and to secure the strategic pathway that, in time, will lead to farm ownership. Farmily™ is, above all, a living community. The couple wanted to have a living philosophy to drive what they do and why they do it and by articulating this Rebecca says they have future-proofed their business. “We needed something that would be quick, easy and simple for our team and we needed it, above all, to be meaningful to them. It is a living philosophy.” To really see what flows from this approach, Rebecca says it’s a case of experiencing the operation of the farm as it practically plays out. “Documenting policy keeps it in the governance realm, whereas we actually walk the talk every day. You can see how we live our philosophy in really practical ways. “ We’re happy to share what we know to be important and we want to see others thrive in farming the way our Farmily is.” The Farmily™ website offers comprehensive information to viewers and Rebecca and Brent are a phone call, or visit away. Brent and Rebecca Miller are creating a resource tool for farmers to enable them to grow their business holistically. Inset: The couple is in an equity partnership on a 336ha, 1150 cow farm near Geraldine. Clinic hours. 8am-5pm, Monday to Friday | Cnr Woodbury and Main North Roads Ph. 03 693 9060 | E. | Proud to support Milk IQ Limited Did you know we can set up permanent and temporary exclusion zones for your pivots? This allows you to stop the application of water, fertigation and effluent over tracks, waterways and non productive land. We control each nozzle independently to allow precise control on the exclusion areas. PHONE 0800 101 134 The preferred milking systems partner for Dairy Farmers Ph 0800 577 583 | Proud to support Milk IQ Limited