The Farmers Fast Five: Where we ask a Farmer five quick questions about Farming, and what Agriculture means to them. Today we talk to Proud Farmer Andy Fox.
How long have you been farming?
Having been brought up on a farm, I was keen from an early age to go farming. Besides working as a builder, a mechanic, a period on my OE and Uni I have farmed all my life. Since about 2000, I have farmed only a proportion of the time which allows me time to sit on agricultural boards, contribute to other industry good activities and to undertake volunteer work.
What sort of farming are you involved in?
I am the 4th generation on “Foxdown” in the Scargill Valley, North Canterbury. We are a sheep and beef protein producer on a dry-land hard hill property. We aim to produce the best base ingredient for a quality eating experience, while maintaining the farm in a way that makes this production sustainable and improves the state of the land for the future. We also have approximately 400 visitors a year to the farm museum and a walking track that is a 4 hour return walk to the top of the farm, Mt Alexander.
What makes you proud to be a farmer?
Producing a top eating experience in the best country in the world is a pretty awesome job. I have always maintained that if you can't stand up in front of a hall of people and tell them about every aspect of what you do, you shouldn’t be doing it. Hand on heart, farming where we do, and how we do it, is about as good as it gets.
I am also very proud of the manner in which farmers and the rural community stick together in hard times and are willing to share information to help each other do better. I don't know of any other profession where people are so keen to help one another succeed.
What do you love about your job as a farmer?
The variety, the freedom to organise things for yourself. Knowing that your hard work will benefit you, your family and your farming operation.
The ability to include your family and friends in your job and show them aspects of it that you are proud of.
The beauty of watching the sun rise or a mist covered valley below the farm while mustering early morning is amazing. I never get sick of the view.
What advice would you give the next generation of farmers?
We have all won the Lotto being born in New Zealand. Farming in the most beautiful country in the world is a privilege. Not everything will go right when you farm, look to yourself first when mistakes are made, don't blame other people. Learn from your mistakes. If farming was easy everyone would want to do it.
-Forgive everyone almost everything.
-What other people think of you is none of your business so don't worry about it.
-You can fall out with two people, but as soon as you fall out with three, start looking at yourself.