Farmers Fast Five : Where we ask a Farmer a quick five questions about farming, and what agriculture means to them. Today we talk to Omihi Farmer Nick Hamilton.
1. How long have you been farming?
I grew up on this farm and my family ancestors have farmed in this area since the very early days. My wife and I purchased our first block in 1999 but we were still working in town. We leased it out to Dad. We went into partnership with my parents in 2002 when we had our first child. Since then we have leased more land and more recently purchased another block.
2. What sort of farming were you involved in?
I worked in rural finance after finishing at Lincoln and got to see all sorts of farming operations which was a great help in becoming the sheep and beef farmer I am today. I also spent nearly 5 years working for the New Zealand Merino Company and during that time I got to meet some very progressive farmers and analyse some future focused farming businesses that are making a positive contribution to agriculture and the environment. I learnt an enormous amount from them.
Today we run a fine wool, dual purpose, sheep flock, have a handful of beef animals and trade in dairy replacements.
3. What makes you proud to be a farmer?
I know I am making a contribution to the New Zealand economy. Our meat and wool is sought after and we have strong relationships with our customers. Our produce is exported, which brings money into the country. We use a variety of local suppliers whose jobs depend on our business remaining successful. What we do here adds to our community, our country and its people.
4. What do you love about your job as a farmer?
The challenge. We can't control Mother Nature. We have to figure out how we can best work with her to make the most of what we have. Every day there is a new challenge to face and that's what keeps me going. I love knowing that what I do makes a difference. It's a great business to give your kids a lot of life's lessons. I also enjoy the camaraderie amongst farming communities
5. What advice would you give the next generation
of farmers ?
It's very important to be flexible and able to react as and when is necessary. Keep educating yourself on all of the factors that influence your business so you can make the necessary changes. You must never stop learning. We farm very differently to how my father did when he started out and in 10 years time things will be different again. The only constant is change and the changes happen faster and faster. Be prepared for that.