Ditching teaching for dairying pays off

Zoe Gleeson at the Bay Of Plenty Dairy Industry Awards farm visit. Photo: Maddison Brown.

The 2018 Dairy Industry Awards’ Bay of Plenty Dairy Trainee of the Year, 25-year-old Zoe Gleeson, grew up in town with no farming background.

The somewhat self-taught dairy trainee told attendees at the DIA winners’ field day on April 5 in Tauranga that she career path after realising she needed a job outdoors.

Halfway through a teaching course she realised she couldn’t handle “being stuck inside all day”.

 “I met my husband and he was farming so I stopped the teaching course and started working on the farm,” says Zoe.

She’s farm assistant for Margaret Wright on her 450-cow, 220ha property at Whakatane.

The farm milks once-a-day and has won environmental awards. “It’s all about sustainability,” says Zoe.

Taking responsibility of one of their herd’s pasture management is something Zoe is proud of achieving. “I knew nothing-to-very-little about pasture management at the start of the season. Now I can consistently maintain pasture quality and milk production.

When asked what inspires her, Zoe says her father. “He’s always been my inspiration; he’s always put in 2000 per cent for our family. You work to build your family up, you work to move yourself forward, and your work provides your life. It doesn’t become your life.”

Zoe hopes to reach farm ownership of multiple farms eventually. She’s currently juggling motherhood and working alongside her husband.


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