Being new to town and wanting to make some new contacts has paid off for the 2018 Bay of Plenty Dairy Industry Awards’ Share Farmer of the Year winners Reece and Tash Cox.
The couple, who hosted a DIA winners’ field day on April 5 at their workplace – David and Lesley Jensen’s 240ha Tauranga farm where they contract milk 700 cows – revealed this was behind their motive to enter the awards.
“Because we are new to the area, we wanted to do some networking and get to know some people and we knew it [the awards] was going to be a good motivator for our business,” says Reece.
The couple – who won five major awards, including the Dairy NZ human resources award, the Eco Lab farm dairy hygiene award, Honda health and safety award, LIC recording and productivity award, Westpac business performance award – told the field day audience they moved to the Pyes Pa farm last June and took on a 710-strong herd and three staff.
“Our role now is the day-to-day managing of the farm, production, milking cows and doing maintenance around the farm,” says Reece.
“For our business there is also the staff and so we have legal obligations around that, we need to make sure our HR is up to scratch and take care of things like payroll.”
Reece says farming was always in his genes. “I’ve been in the dairy industry for eight years, before this I was managing 1200 cows for three years for Waipapa Trust in Taupo,” says Reece.
And while Tash is relatively new to farming, having been a school teacher for the last seven years, she’s taken on administrative roles recently which she’ll juggle with their first child, which was due mid-April.
Looking to the future, they’ll be taking the farm to “full time once-a-day” next year, improving animal health and reproduction and to give staff with a better work-life balance. To make up for loss in profit they will increase the herd to 750 cows.
“Our 10-year goal is to purchase 150ha and possibly build our own house on it and stay involved in the dairy industry.
“Our goal now is to build 15 per cent equity on an annual basis; we’re trying to put our eggs in different baskets so own a rental property in Taupo,” says Reece.
Tash and Reece enjoy working alongside farm owners Lesley and David and look forward to continuing to develop their sustainable business.