Sunday, 29 March 2020 15:23

Couple named Share Farmer of the Year

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Ralph and Fleur Tompsett. Ralph and Fleur Tompsett.

Sharemilkers and equity partners Ralph and Fleur Tompsett are Canterbury/North Otago’s Share Farmer of the Year.

In a Facebook announcement, MC Hamish McKay read out names of winners. Thanks to Covid-19, the region’s awards dinner night was cancelled.

The Tompsetts are equity partners and 50% sharemilking 1130 cows for Craig and Susan, Karyn and Grant Fleming on their 297ha Ashburton farm. They won $10,250 in prizes plus one merit award.

Ralph (34) holds PrimaryITO Level 4 Dairy Farming and Fleur (37) holds Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Arts and has completed the Governance Essentials Course through Institute of Directors.

 “Dairy farming has provided fantastic opportunities for us to grow,” says Ralph. 

“I love the technical side of the farm and the variety of skills I can apply to my role.”

“Farming allows us to live rurally with plenty of space and a great community.” 

The Tompsetts say they want to continue to grow and develop their business. “It’s a goal of ours to bring great people along with us to share and enjoy the growth opportunities which our dairy industry provides.”

The first-time entrants were encouraged to enter the Awards by one of their rural professionals and saw the process as an opportunity to better understand their business and benchmark against the wider industry.

The couple have learned to wear many different hats and to develop competence in a wide range of subjects.

 “Beginning our sharemilking journey in a low pay-out season was a challenge however it taught us to focus on what we could influence rather than what we couldn’t.”

The Tompsetts have achieved a low staff turnover they are proud of, with core staff members with them for an average of three years.

 “This has enabled us to develop a family culture on the farm, which in turn has helped us to drive productivity and herd performance.”

Future farming goals include farm ownership and developing their current skills within the industry. 

“We both enjoy understanding and using data to drive decision making.  This enables us to identify areas of improvement and track progress,” says Ralph.

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