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Horrified finding out she had to work on Christmas day

New to dairy farming Jess Moore was horrified when she found out she had to work on Christmas day.

“I knew nothing about dairy farming,” Jess says. “I didn’t know you milked cow’s twice a day and I only figured out you had to milk them on Christmas day in December so had to call mum and tell her we wouldn’t be home for Christmas.”

Now well entrenched and happy in the dairy industry Jess, her husband Don and their young family of two boys Harry and Lachie and daughter Violet feature as the fourth episode of the Dairy Women’s Network visual story telling project, OUR PEOPLE. THEIR STORIES.

After leaving school Don worked as a deep sea fisherman off the coast of Nelson and Jess worked in a Pharmacy until Jess said she wanted to see more of her ‘imaginary boyfriend.’

“I told him to get a job where he’d be around more and he said the only job he wanted was to be a dairy farmer in Southland, so here we are.”

Between 2008 and 2010 the couple managed 850 cows on Benio Dairy for an absentee lower order sharemilker. They were looking for the next opportunity and recognised the Dairy Industry Awards could help them progress so entered and won the 2010 Manager of the Year title for Southland.

Their employers concluded their position on Benio Dairy and the position was offered to the couple, giving them a fantastic opportunity to introduce themselves to staff recruitment and business management while staying on the same farm and continuing to strive for the farm goals that they had set with the farm owners, the Cunningham’s.

Wanting to continue their growth and career they approached the Cunningham’s about the opportunity to enter a 50/50 sharemilking agreement milking 1000 cows which they accepted.

The Moore’s entered the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards in 2013 winning both the Southland and National Titles in the Sharemilker section while also picking up the human resources, farm environment and the business performance merit national awards as well.

Don began his Journey with Dairy Holdings Ltd as the Southland/West Otago farm Supervisor in 2015. This position started with seven dairy farms and a grazing block and grew during this time by two further dairy farms via a purchase and a conversion. They successfully leased a dairy farm in an equity partnership and wrapped that up in June 2018 while also managing another contract milking position.

After almost nine years of marriage and three children they purchased their own farm north east of Gore in June last year.

“After realising this farming thing was a 365 day a year job it really has been quite a journey so far, and we know there’s much more to come,” Jess says.

Dairy Women’s Network CEO Jules Benton said there was still one more story to come in the current series with the potential for more in 2020.

Inspired by Jess and Don’s journey, Benton wanted to share their story demonstrating commitment and passion for the dairy industry and taking every opportunity to immerse themselves from a learning and leadership perspective coupled with their drive and determination to purchase their own farm.

“They have been so focused and goal orientated this has seen them achieve so much, including farm ownership at a young age, showing just what can be done when you have clear goals and determination,” Benton says.

“At Dairy Women’s Network we do what we love and love what we do, so seeing families like Jess and Don’s seizing opportunities and enhancing themselves and their business is extremely satisfying.”

“I wanted a tribe to keep me safe and secure and let me grow as myself,” Jess says referring to the Dairy Women’s Network, of which she is a Regional Leader and part of its annual conference workshop committee.

“And these ladies get it; we’re all the same and that’s what I love about Dairy Women’s Network.”


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