Tuesday, 07 July 2020 07:55

Sharemilkers need to hone in business skills

Written by  Peter Burke
New Feds sharemilkers section chair Aaron Passey says business acumen is an area where many new sharemilkers come unstuck. New Feds sharemilkers section chair Aaron Passey says business acumen is an area where many new sharemilkers come unstuck.

What major skill is often lacking amongst sharemilkers? Find out from Feds new sharemilkers chair.

Aaron Passey says sharemilkers need to have good business acumen if they are to succeed in the dairy industry.

He told Dairy News this is a skill that is sometimes lacking among sharemilkers and one that needs to improve. 

Passey says business acumen is an area where many new sharemilkers come unstuck. They have jumped at the opportunity of entering the industry, but haven’t necessarily done background budgets. He says, if they did this, it would be clear whether they would be financially better off staying as a herd manager for a few more years rather than becoming a sharemilker.

“A lot of this is about having the skills to deal with the banks. There is a need to educate sharemilkers about the information they need to provide the banks and how to develop a good working relationship with them. 

“You give yourself a better chance of success in obtaining a loan if you have good budgets and information about what security you have. But if you have a good relationship with the bank you enhance the chances of getting a proposal across the line.

“They need to do their sums and know what their profitability levels will be in different scenarios such as an adverse event or a drop in payout,” he says.

Passey says Feds, DairyNZ and the Primary ITO are all involved in various initiatives to help educate sharemilkers. 

He says while many people do the various Primary ITO courses, some of the information that sharemilkers need at an early stage comes in during the more advanced courses. 

He says that business training is needed much earlier.

According to Passey, skill levels required in the industry vary from farm to farm. He says on smaller farms the emphasis will be on cows and grass, while on larger units, such as those in Canterbury, business management skills are more important.

About the man

Aaron Passey and his wife Jo are currently sharemilking on a 130ha property just north west of Dannevirke in the Tararua district. They peak milk about 300 cows and the farm is over 300 metres above sea level. It is situated in a valley and the Ruahine Ranges, snow covered in winter, form a stunning back-drop.

Passey grew up in Upper Hutt near Wellington, but always had a desire to be a farmer.

“While at school I frequently visited my relations in the Manawatu who had sheep and beef farms, so it was no surprise that when I left school I went to Massey University and completed a bachelor of applied science in agriculture. After a few months driving tractors, I began my career in the dairy industry,” he says.

He initially got a job as a herd manager then managed a small dairy farm in Taranaki before coming to the Tararua district where he’s been for the past thirteen years.

It was here that he was urged by a former Feds sharemilker president, Neil Filer, to become involved in the federation and over the years he has worked his way up the ranks.

He says his new role will involve lobbying and advocating to ensure that sharemilking remains a sustainable and profitable business.

“I also want to promote and create an environment that encourages more people to take up sharemilking and enter the industry,” he says.

While Passey admits that it can be challenging moving from sharemilking to farm ownership, he wants to uncover new and creative ways of making this possible.

More like this

Slow learners?

Our old mate does wonder about the financial acumen of brain’s trust running Federated Farmers these days!

Nice speech, but...

OPINION: Publisher Stuff and lobby group Federated Farmers both like to preach about their respective high-minded virtues – Stuff, about “funding journalism”, Feds about “supporting our farming communities”.

A dangerous precedent

A proposal by the Timaru District Council (TDC) to extend setbacks in rural areas is raising eyebrows.

Praise for associate director scheme

Federated Farmers dairy vice chairman Richard McIntyre says the associate director scheme run by DairyNZ is awesome and he would thoroughly recommend it to anyone.



John Deere names new Aust/NZ head

John Deere Australia/New Zealand’s new managing director Luke Chandler says he will prioritise leading the way in technology and investing in strong relationships.

Trade deal delivers new 'rulebook'

A new trade agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), has been described as a new rule book for trade in the Asian region.


Wyeth ready for the 'Coast'

The chief executive-elect of Yili-owned Westland Milk Products Richard Wyeth is looking forward to the challenge of running the company.

Machinery & Products

Weeds in for a shock

WIith an increasing focus on reducing chemical herbicides, largely because of crop resistance and a potential build-up of residues, new…

V8 - a baler with a grunt

Following three years of testing with clients worldwide, Ireland-based manufacturer McHale has added a bigger model to its range of…

Virtual CV valuable tool

With a 12-year history of recruiting specialised operators from overseas to service the agricultural contracting industry, Hanzon Jobs typically brings…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Action, please!

The Hound notes that despite the new government having been elected for well over a month, there seems to a…


Your canine crusader is intrigued to learn that the upper-class twats who attend Oxford University in the UK have voted…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter