Farmers Fast Five: Beverley Forrester
The Farmers Fast Five: Where we ask a Farmer five quick questions about Farming, and what Agriculture means to them. Today we talk to Glenmark Rural Women’s Branch President, Yarn Producer, Exporter, Author, Fashion Designer and Proud Farmer Beverley Forrester.
1.How long have you been Farming?
All of my life: 66 years. Brought up on the 4th generation family farms Warkworth, North Auckland, and is still run now by my sister and myself. Since 1986 I have been in Hawarden, North Canterbury, on what is also a 4th generation family farm with which we won the 2006 New Zealand Century Farm and Station Award.
2.What sort of farming are you involved in?
Farming sheep (natural coloured chemical free wool), cattle and tourists. I have a yarn production and export business in yarn and livestock.
3.What makes you Proud to be a Farmer?
-Having the opportunity to develop a rural business by identifying a niche product, establishing its added value while processing within New Zealand. I now have a multi-faceted international business with global demand and distribution.
-Living in a small rural community where everyone knows each other and genuinely cares.
-Learning something new every day, from apprentice plumbers and apprentice fencers, to the challenges of compliance and new technology.
- That every member of the team is valued, that its team work. Every team needs a leader, every leader needs a team. Getting help with stock work, maintenance, graphic designing, mail order contacts by utilizing the expertise of others with skills I do not have myself.
4. What do you love about Farming?
-Having my own ‘Black Hills’ Trademark and brand., and niche market. Dealing direct with customers through our own retail outlets, and others.
- The sheep, their husbandry and daily care. The developing, researching and designing of a new product. This is all part of the total business. No sheep, no wool. No wool, no business.
-The Consumer driven market, the customers have become increasingly discerning, demanding a quality product, and assurance, traceability and authenticity. Direct marketing allows for immediate adaptation of the primary product for an evolving global market. Wool is the number 1 natural fibre in the world.
-Meeting customers directly, and hosting them on the farm i.e. farm tourists.
- I have no established the “Beverley Riverina’ knitwear range found on international catwalks from wool produced off my own farm. In 2016 it was selected as 1 of 8 in the world for a fashion show on the top deck of ‘ Costa Luminosa’, and Italian cruise ship.
5.What advice would you give the next generation of farmers?
Technology is not the be all and end all. It can be expensive: it must be cost effective, budgeting is required.
Keep true to yourself, enjoy the career you chose.
Keep the farm gate ‘open’ – continue to break down the barrier of misunderstanding between urban and rural.
I enjoy working at the Canterbury A&P show, and having Polytechnic students on section placement.
Enjoy what you do. Every business must be profitable and sustainable.