The Proud to be a Farmer Nz Farmers Fast Five : Where we ask a Farmer five quick questions about Farming, and what Agriculture means to them. Today we talk to Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year and Proud Farmer Jessie Chan-Dorman.
1.How long have you been farming?
I have been involved in the primary sector since becoming a laboratory technician at Fonterra Research Institute in 1994. I then studied Animal Science at Massey University majoring in Ruminant Nutrition and have been involved in a range of rural Professional roles since. I started dairy farming with my husband Hayden in 2009.
2.What sort of farming were you involved in?
We are dairy farmers, leasing 420 hectares in Mid Canterbury, with 950 cows in a split calving (autumn and spring) self-contained winter milking system.
3.What makes you proud to be a farmer?
The people. A great example is the Dorie community.
One amazing thing that has happened to Dorie in the past 20 years is that irrigation was introduced. This allowed the region to participate in a diverse mix of farming enterprises that weren’t previously possible in a dry land situation. The impact on the community was huge – in a good way.
Dorie is a little area with a school, preschool, church, and hall, and that’s it. But the thing that makes Dorie is the people. Diverse, vibrant, energetic. Our wonderful Dorie community has a diverse range of businesses: dairy farming, cropping, sheep, grapes, bulbs, potatoes, onions, seed production. Some are suppling big processors, some are exporting directly themselves, and some are selling locally to the community.
The Dorie School was down to a few students, all from the same farming families that had been there for generations. Now it has a role of 70 and it has a preschool next door with a role of 40. Diversifying business models in Dorie has also diversified the community. At preschool we celebrate Chinese New Year, Matariki, and the Diwali festival. We have a local Filipino Feast. The Dorie Dance is filled with faces of all ages and from all over the globe. That brings innovation and energy to our business and our community.
4.What do you love about your job as a farmer?
We produce something tangible. In my Wellington jobs I spent a lot of time doing stuff with paper. This did have a purpose, but it wasn’t always obvious and sometimes it was hard to connect what I was doing with an actual tangible outcome. With farming, we are producing food every day of the year– it is real, tangible and very useful!
5.What advice would you give the next generation of farmers?
Understand your why, and take the time to understand other people’s why. Once you know what drives you, then you can give it 100% and do it really well. Once you know what drives other people, then you can connect to achieve something together. Those other people might be community, employees, business partners, or even people in town who have certain perceptions about you.