'Theres Money to be Made'
Ashburton Guardian 16/4/2013
If you keep your head down and put the hard yards in, there is some serious money to be made in farming.
Just ask Naish Massey, 23 – who has gone from dairy assistant to farm manager in three years.
Naish, a butcher by trade, arrived at the Carew-based farm, Kintore Farm, in 2010 and has since proved to be worth his weight in gold.
He moved to Mid Canterbury from his father’s farm in Northland, frustrated he couldn’t progress, due to a set family hierarchy.
“My father wasn’t ready to move over, so I needed to progress my career in some way and looked for other options.
“It has been tough work, for sure, but the boss has put every opportunity out there for me to succeed and I am really enjoying my work here.
“Being a farmer is all about what you make of it … if you don’t want to be here, then you won’t really go very far – but if you want to move up, then you have to give it your all mate,” Naish said.
Naish, who is also a seventh generation farmer, strongly disagrees with criticism suggesting dairy farmers are low-paid and overworked, pointing out he has a fantastic lifestyle and enjoys his work-life balance – with a healthy remuneration package.
“I travel two minutes to my house and I can spend over three hours down time with my family every day … it’s not all work, work, work,” he said.
“There are definitely opportunities out there and I have turned up day in and day out to grab them – Nick (the boss) knows I want to further my career next year, I always want to achieve more and go further.
“My big dream is to own a farm with my wife, but that’s a little way down the track.
“For now I’m getting stuck in to my task and ensuring my targets are met,” Naish said.
Naish’s boss, Nick Hoogeveen, who is also a co-owner in the Carew-based farm, praised the 23-year-old as a “good, hard working young fella” who has been rightly rewarded for his efforts and loyalty.
“They’re (hard working young fellas) hard to come by, but I can tell you, there is so many people like Naish stuck in the North Island on farms where they will struggle to progress for whatever reason,” he said.
“We need to bring them down here, where the opportunities are vast and the guidance is there, it’s just a case of getting that message through though, which is quite difficult.”
But like many other farm owners in Mid Canterbury, it hasn’t all been plain sailing for Mr Hoogeveen when it comes to recruitment. In one example, he had 10 people apply for a dairy assistant role – six proving unsuitable and four appearing uninterested in the role completely.
“I had two of them turn up who had a history of substance abuse, another one didn’t turn up at all and one of them came to the interview because they had no choice – none of them looked remotely interested,” he said.
“I find it difficult to find the right staff, but if the right person comes along, like Naish, we make sure we put everything in place for them to climb the ladder and do well for themselves.
“It’s all about attitude and willingness to soak it all in,” Mr Hoogeveen said.
When Naish isn’t milking cows or rounding up herds, he enjoys playing squash and rugby and spending time with his wife and two-year-old son.
“I love it (dairy farming) mate … absolutely love it,” Naish said.
- By Sam Morton