The Perks of share milking: South Taranaki farmers take out award

Murray and Rachel Perks have been named 2022 Taranaki Share Farmers of the Year.


Murray and Rachel Perks have been named 2022 Taranaki Share Farmers of the Year.

Like a winding rural Taranaki road, the Perks’ path to being named the region’s best share farmers hasn’t always been straightforward.

The Perks family overcame family health challenges, negative equity, and a pay-out crash while farming in Hokitika before landing in their current role.

Murray and Rachel Perks are second-time entrants in the Taranaki Dairy Industry Awards, and this year won the 2022 Taranaki Share Farmers of the Year award.

The couple contract milk on a 134.45 hectare, 445-cow Hāwera property, where they’ve been for six years.

They won $13,888 and seven merit awards at the award night in Hāwera last week.

In an emailed statement, the couple said they enjoy the variety of work on a dairy farm and were proud to have overcome a position of negative equity to be able to purchase cows again.

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“When we were in our last equity partnership near Hokitika, the pay-out crashed and, because of extended family health challenges, we made the call to sell our equity partnership at a significant loss.

“We’ve managed to pay back our debt and save our equity to the point of going 50/50 share milking.”

Murray holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Science, while Rachel has a Bachelor of Language Therapy.

“Rachel’s work as a behavioral specialist definitely helps with working alongside our staff, and my background as a rural professional has helped with different skills and contacts,” Murray said.

With a growing family, consisting of Callum, 8, Matilda, 5, and Jack, 3, Murray and Rachel’s future farming goals include paying off their herd, funding their children’s education and looking into off-farm investment.

The winner of the Dairy Manager of the Year category was Nick Besinga who is in his second year managing. His future farming goals include saving more equity with an aim to become a 50/50 share milker in five years.

Kate Logan was awarded Taranaki Dairy Trainee of the Year, her goals include securing a manager position with the ultimate goal of farm ownership.

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