Gypsy Day start of new chapter

Trudy Bensted is planning the next chapter in her life, packing up her family and moving farms.

Dairy farm worker Trudy Bensted is heading for the next chapter in her life on Gypsy Day. Photo:...
Dairy farm worker Trudy Bensted is heading for the next chapter in her life on Gypsy Day. Photo: Supplied

She is motivated to succeed in the dairy industry, but also driven to give her children life experiences.

Trudy has a sole charge position in Temuka milking 260 cows but on June 1 - the traditional Gypsy Day - she moves to a new job.

She will be taking on a new venture joining the team at Kintore farms in Mid Canterbury.

''Kintore consists of two sheds south of Ashburton, 1500 cows, excellent apps and systems in place for an efficient and effective farm,'' Trudy said.

Kintore Farms management follow Millennium Farming principles, so she knows she can have a balanced work, family and personal life.

She will also be able to progress her career in the dairy industry.

For Trudy it's not the job title that's important, it's doing what she enjoys and challenging herself.

More importantly the balance gives children Tara (11) and Arley (5) positive life experiences.

Trudy said the sole charge position was ''a real eye-opener on the pressure involved'' and she had pushed herself to have a life she was content with.

However, her focus this year, was to get Arley into rugby, Tara competing with her pony and for herself to become a competent manager - managing pressure and ensuring her family did not go without.

''I'm looking forward to [being part of a] team again and to help others go forward in the industry as well.

''I have faced a few challenges this season, [but] overall I am feeling happy [about] the fact I have made a lot of calls and also had strong support along the way.''

''This season has shown me my own capability first hand and opened my eyes up to my strengths and weakness, while allowing me to be honest with myself as to what I need to work on and what my focus points need to be.''

Getting into farming life was not simple - she spent two years deeply involved 50/50 sharemilking with her former partner and developed a love of farming.

When the pair separated, Trudy wanted to continue with farming and, as a ''townie'' from Timaru, she had to work harder to prove she could do it.

She dived head-first into dairying, this time as a single mum of two, starting from the bottom and working her way up again.

It's been a fulltime job for four years now, and she has thrived.

Pushing herself to learn through on-farm and course work.

''My goals [had] always been the traditional 50/50 but I'm now changing my mindset to fit with where our industry may be in the next 10 years, and what will be financially realistic for myself,'' she said.

''I'm leaning more to equity management and upskilling myself to have the leadership values to encourage younger staff at a corporate level.''

Trudy wanted to work with farms chasing innovation, and those with good systems in place.

''I feel it's going to be beneficial for both me and my family at Kintore farms this season.''

''Dairy is an industry that is continuously challenging; it offers you to grow your skills and knowledge every day and no day is ever the same.''

''I love calving time. It'd be my favourite time of the year.''

Trudy juggles work with being mum of two young children and is aiming for work/life balance.

While she has an au pair to help with the day to day management, Trudy has rarely missed any school or sporting events involving the kids.

''I have been tested over my years in the dairy industry, but I've also learned my strength and capabilities along the way and really proved my work ethic.

''I've pushed myself quite quickly so far, starting out as an assistant and calf rearer, herd manager then second-in-charge, to my now position, sole charge of 260 cows.''

It has been a hard but worthwhile journey that, for this family, is not over yet.

June signals the start of a brand new chapter.

- By Toni Williams

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