NZ Dairy Winter 2022

| 27 nzdairy DAIRY AWARDS » Scott & Rebecca O’Brien Rebecca and Scott O’Brien. ‘The people side the most important’ Richard Loader On the night of the Bay of Plenty regional Dairy Industry Awards, the lead up to being announced Sharefarmer of the Year was a nail-biting affair for Scott and Rebecca O’Brien who were on level peggings with one other very good farming couple for the eight available Merit awards, before the grand award was announced after the dinner break. “We didn’t expect to win,” says Scott. “We just told our story in our way and thought that if we got anywhere it would be a bonus. “There were nine entrants including us in the sharefarming category which I believe was the most in a long time. There was huge pride when our win was announced for both Becks and me as a team, because it wouldn’t have happened if it was just one of us.” The O’Brien’s merit awards were; People and Culture, Livestock, Farm Health & Safety and Biosecurity, and Financial & Business. Scott says entering the awards was a good opportunity to scrutinise their farming business and what has happened over the last few years. “We thought we had a pretty good story about growth within the industry to share. One of our key learnings going through the award process was clarity around nancials, business growth, and where we’re heading over the next two, ve and ten years. “ We went 50/50 sharemilking ve years ago, milking 650 cows, in Galatea near Whakatane. For the rst four years we were in equity partnership in the sharemilking business, and contract milking to the business. “In 2020 the business took on a 250-cow sharemilking contract on a nearby farm and last September we were in a position to buy out our equity partners, eighteen months ahead of time.” While not placed at the recently held Nationals, Scott and Rebecca were awarded Merit for People and Culture. The larger farm has three full time permanent staff in addition to Scott, with a farm manager looking after the day-to-day running of the smaller farm, and half a labour unit providing relief. Rebecca looks after all the accounts, rosters and HR work. “We think the people side is the most important thing in this day and age and to be recognised for that is awesome. The cows and grass become easier if you get the people side right. We take a huge amount of pride in the people side, with staff retention, training, and the culture we’ve created within in our business. Scott and Rebecca have crafted a culture where everyone respects each other, no matter where they sit within the business. “We also provide as many training opportunities as the staff want. They feel valued that we’re helping them achieve their goals, whether that’s sharemilking, farm ownership or farm manager – anything like that. Rebecca and I are both extremely passionate about farming. We love the people, animals and land all together. “ Farming gives you amazing opportunities if you’re willing to learn and put the hard work in. You don’t always have to take the conventional path; there are lots of different ways to get to where you want to get to. That’s the exciting part about farming.” Looking to the future, Scott says he and Rebecca are on path to be farm owners by 2027. “That’s the goal. We’re just chipping away at our debt levels so that we can be in a position to buy a farm.” • Grass Silage • Maize Silage & Harvesting • Round Baling-with Krone Comprima Combi Pack • Maize Planting • Full Cultivation Services • Undersowing • Direct Drilling • Earth Works • Farm Race Work • General Excavation Work • Truck Cartage DAN: 021 155 4975 | PEARCEAGCONTRACTING@GMAIL.COM Pearce Ag Contracting Ltd. At NZ Farmers Livestock Ltd we are commi�ed to working with farmers for farmers. We are 100% NZ owned and operated. Our new live auc�on pla�orm provides farmers with a real-�me sale-yard experience and access to easy and instant bidding from sale-yards and on-farm auc�ons. To talk with one of our dedicated livestock specialists visit or call 0800 695 483. NZ Farmers Livestock Ltd is proud to be associated with Sco� and Rebecca O’Brien. We look forward to con�nuing to work alongside them in their future endeavours.