When you’re overseas it is a little disconcerting to realise how little New Zealand features in other countries’ media. Tonight I’m feeling the same way about rural news in our own media.
The Sharemilker of the Year competition took place at the weekend. Had I not been listening to the Farming Show at lunchtime and heard Jamie McKay interviewing Ben Allomes, who with his wife Nicky, won the national title I wouldn’t have known anything about it.
Ben aged 30 is National President of Young farmers and a two-time finalist in the National bank Young Farmer contest. He and Nicky have purchased their first farm, 50% share milk 400 cows on one farm, 250 cows on another and lease a 140 hectare beef block. They also have three children aged 4, 2 and nine months.
A Dominion profile (published when they won the regional final in March) explains how they wrote down their goals.
One was to have $1 million in assets in 10 years. “We wrote it down but we didn’t tell anyone,” he says. “We didn’t want to hear other people’s negative views. But seeing it in print made us believe it was possible.”
Later, they attended a Dexcel strategic management course and wrote a new mission statement: “To have a happy healthy family and a low-stress sustainable farming business providing freedom and security.” They were both 22.
By dint of heard work they are well on their way to achieving their goals and their story is one which ought to appeal to town and country alike.
While they are proud of their achievements, they don’t want people to get the impression it has all come easy. “We’ve had to work hard and make sacrifices,” Mrs Allomes says.
“While other people our age were spending their money on their social lives, travelling overseas and buying flash cars, we were staying at home and putting aside every penny. We could spend up now, but that will come later. We think we can make better use of our money on the farm for now.”
“We want to enjoy our time with our kids now,” Mr Allomes says. “That’s the beauty of working on a farm; it’s your home as well as your workplace. And we want our children to be brought up knowing what hard work is all about; that money has to be earned, not taken for granted.”
The full awards list is here.