Her passion for farming the spur

Kate Stainton-Herbert
Kate Stainton-Herbert
Kate Stainton-Herbert is one of the new members of the Southern Dairy Development Trust, which is a cornerstone partner in the commercial and research dairy unit, the Southern Dairy Hub, near Wallacetown.

Q Tell me a little about your background, family, your farm size, stock numbers, production etc. and your current career.

I grew up on a sheep, beef and deer farm in Balfour, Northern Southland.

I am the oldest of three girls, and from a very young age was lucky enough that my parents involved us heavily on farm and passed their passion for farming on to us.

After attending school and university in Dunedin I spent five years working in banking in Auckland. During this time, I gained incredible knowledge and experiences, as sitting in the dealing room during during the 2008 global financial crisis was something you do not see every day.

My role in Auckland was on the ASB Global Markets team, managing a portfolio of 30 corporate clients ($10million-$50million-plus turnover per year) and business partners, providing interest rate and foreign exchange risk management products and services.

My husband and I returned south to his family dairy farm at Clinton seven years ago and just recently through family succession took over full ownership.

We are fully self-contained, milking 550 cows.

We also oversee a 400-cow dairy farm at Waipahi alongside my parents.

I complete all the financials/administration/payroll etc. for these two business as well as my parents' dairy farm at Balfour.

I have continued banking since we moved back south and have been with the Westpac Agribusiness team based in Gore as an agribusiness manager over this period.

I see it as a privilege to see into so many diverse businesses and different ways of farming, and feel lucky I get to take some ideas home to our own business.

I still remain very hands on and help out on farm wherever I can, which currently involves a lot of calves to feed.

We have two young boys, with our oldest just started school at Clinton Primary School in May.

My husband and I are really passionate about looking after the land and ensuring it provides opportunities for many generations to come.

Q How long have you been involved with the trust and why did you decide you wanted to be part of it? What benefits do you see?

I am a new trustee and was appointed last month.

I decided to apply for the role as I am passionate about farming and the future of farming.

I want to ensure it is sustainable for the generations that follow me and I have a desire to continue learning about the industry.

The benefits I see of being involved include bringing a different perspective/representation from the South Otago farming area and helping create positive benefits for dairy farmers.

Q What qualities, talents or experience will you bring to the role?

I have spent 12 years working in banking and therefore have a strong financial background with great business and relationship management experience.

I am incredibly hard working and juggle the demands of work, being a mum and overseeing multiple dairy farms.

I have a strong understanding of the agribusiness sector both from working in and working on agricultural businesses.

Q What sort of input or job would you like to have within the trust?

At this stage I do not know the answer to this as I am focusing on building my understanding of how the trust and hub work and where I can add value.

Q Do you see any challenges with being involved with the trust?

There are always challenges with anything involving farming.

But I also see this an exciting opportunity for the agribusiness sector to continue to adapt and grow and the trust (along with the hub) can help make this happen.

Q Where do you see the hub heading as far as research and commercial operations are concerned?

I see huge potential for this facility, as there are so many different opportunities and avenues that it can pursue in farming and in helping our farmers learn and upskill as well as in the wider community. I see a real gap for educating our young people to get them excited about working on farm and sharing our passion for the industry.

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