OPINION: If you want to see a role model (or two), just look at NZ Dairy Industry Awards winners Damian and Jane Roper.
Cameron and Nicola van Dorsten, aged 33 and 31 respectively, are 50/50 sharemilking 575 cows on Ray Parker and Sharon Corcoran’s 204ha farm in Outram.
Cameron and Nicola both come from dairy farming backgrounds and enjoy the different challenges the industry offers.
“There are always new advances in research and technology. The dairy industry has a good career path which allows for equity growth and the chance for us to progress young people through.”
The 2009 economic downturn challenged them. “We lost our equity and had to build it back up to where we are now.”
The van Dorstens say they have learnt the importance of working with people with similar values and goals. “Our staff and network all work together.
“We continually analyse facets of our business to maximise profit and production for ourselves and our farm owners.”
Cameron and Nicola are first-time entrants to the awards and say they wanted to fine-tune their business and to lead by example for their staff. “We’ve stepped outside our comfort zone and would like to begin to give back to the industry.”
The couple forsee farm ownership or an equity partnership in their future, with people who share the same values and aspirations as themselves.
“We’re proud of our outright herd ownership and seeing our staff go on to management roles.”