The Farmers Fast Five: Where we ask a Farmer five quick questions about Farming, and what Agriculture means to them. Today we talk to Ballance Farm Environment Award Winner and Proud North Canterbury Farmer Charles Douglas-Clifford.
1. How long have you been farming?
I have been involved in farming in one way or another all my
life. I grew up on the family farm as a 6th generation descendant, finished
school and worked on various farms in Australia for a year. I then went to
Lincoln University to study a BCom Ag. I went on to spend 6 years working as a rural bank manager for the National Bank in Palmerston North, Nelson and Timaru. Then in early 2012 I returned home to Stonyhurst with Erin, after getting married and have been here ever since.
2. What sort of farming were/are you involved in?
In the 6 years working as a rural manager I got to see a
wide range of farming operations throughout the country. I was also
fortunate to have been in the finance sector through the global financial
crisis. This gave me a good grounding of some of the challenges ahead in the primary sector. In this time I also had the opportunity to meet and connect to some leading farmers and see first hand what makes some of these business' tick. I am now currently at home on a Sheep, Beef and Deer breeding and finishing farm in North Canterbury.
3. What makes you proud to be a farmer?
Coming from a long history of farming on the land, I feel a
real sense of privilege to be able to work the same land that my ancestors
have done in years gone by. The chance to be a custodian of the land and
caretake so that future generations can get the same satisfaction as I have.
There is also a strong sense of pride in knowledge that the
roast served for family at night was grown by a farmer, as were vegetables on the side. The milk and cereal for breakfast also provided by farmers. Even the woollen jersey and socks put on for the day's work ahead, care taken by a farmer for your convenience.
4. What do you love about your job as a farmer?
Variation of work, and the opportunity to see your work from
the beginning right through to the end. This could be from the day the Ram goes out through to drafting the lambs. It could be from sowing the crop through to the harvest. Regardless of what it is that you do, there will be constant challenges thrown in front of you along the way and you must find ways to best mitigate them, some will be a success, and others will be a learning for next time. The other big thing for me is the opportunity to
have your family involved in what you do. It is great to be able to work in
a job where you can have your kids involved in what you do, while also
having the chance to come home and have lunch with them each day also.
5. What advice would you give the next generation of farmers?
Be prepared to do things differently. The way farming has
been done for the last 30-40 years could almost be guaranteed to be
different in the next 30-40 years. We must all be prepared to accept change and to continue to learn and adapt to new ways of doing things. Take opportunities as they are presented to you, so long as they fit into longer term plans or views. And finally, get out and tick as many of your bucket list items early, because when you get hooked into farming, it will be very hard to do anything that tops the satisfaction that can be achieved on a daily basis!!
Photos Claire Inkson