Paying Dividends: MyFarm’s sheep and beef business model and management structure was put under the microscope by Sandra Taylor with a visit to Kaiangaroa. Published in Country-Wide magazine »
Te Awa Rua Station
MyFarm model impresses farmer: Tony Riley is doing a job he loves in an industry he is passionate about and feels supported and appreciated by his employers – MyFarm Sheep & Beef.
He is manager of Te Awa Rua, a 1040ha (750 effective) sheep and beef farm east of Te Kuiti, syndicated in October 2012 by MyFarm and owned by a German investment company. As the crow flies the property is less than 20 kilometres southwest of MyFarm’s newest Sheep & Beef syndication, Ngaponga Limited Partnership at Ngaroma.
As the previous manager of the property before syndication, Tony was approached by MyFarm to undertake the new management role and says MyFarm’s respect in the agricultural industry played a big part in accepting the position.
“I knew there would be high expectations, but also the support to enable you to perform,” he says.
He is impressed with the models and benchmarking systems introduced by MyFarm that demand proficient data collection and monitoring on his part.
But he also appreciates the robust and challenging discussions around management decisions.
“They are some of the best guys I have worked with in the industry - there are no personal agendas, the focus is completely on what is best for the business,” he says.
Tony has already seen the effect that capital investment has brought to the property – new fencing, a four year forecast of pasture development underway, plans for new yards, and upgrading of the water systems.
He says from a personal point of view, capital investment has brought the farm back up to an operational level where it is possible to deliver on results expected in a five year plan.
Tony says knowing that the long term plan for capital investment must be carried out (as part of the Overseas Investment Office conditions of sale) means the farm is constantly being improved.
“That’s important, because it can take five years to get stock performance completely established and the improvements help you achieve that goal.”
Te Awa Rua winters 5000 ewes, 1500 hoggets, 82 rams and 336 R2 bulls on a mix of easy hill and flat country, with 250ha still undeveloped. The area is generally summer safe and escaped the worst of the recent North Island drought, although was extremely dry.
“We managed our way through the season making decisions together,” says Tony, “you just have to get on with the job.”
There is an awareness of investor expectations that comes with the role, but no more than his personal desire to deliver results anyway.
“You are well supported and well rewarded for a high performance job,” he says.