5 minutes with ...

Farm assistant William Ferguson at work. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Farm assistant William Ferguson at work. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Matai Farms farm assistant William Ferguson (17).

What is the set up at Matai Farms?

Lower order sharemilker Shaun McKelvie runs 1600 cows in two units on one farm in Seaward Downs, south of Edendale.

The 553ha farm is owned by Bathan and Jane Muir and has two dairy sheds on it. I’m part of a team of eight staff including Shaun. We have a Chilean woman starting on June 1, which will make it a team of nine.

When did you start working at Matai Farms?

I started doing a work experience course here in February last year. The course was through Primary ITO and Southland Boys' High School. I started working at Matai Farms full-time during calving last year and I’m currently sitting my Primary ITO Level 3 programme.

What attracted you to the industry?

I wanted to try something new and to get out of town — I was boarding at boys’ high in Invercargill. I wanted to get straight into working, rather than getting a student loan and needing to pay it back for the next 20 years.

What are your career aspirations?

In the long run, I’d like to own a big station, running sheep and beef or a dairy dry-off.

What’s the best part of working in the dairy industry?

Getting out of bed early in the morning. I enjoy being outside and seeing the sunrise.

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