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Donald Pearson Farm Appoints Young Farmer As New Farm Manager

The Donald Pearson Farm, owned by New Zealand Young Farmers has welcomed a new Farm Manager to the land after a lengthy search.

Sam Waugh, 27, took up the role on 20th April as the new Farm Manager on the 74 hectare Auckland Dairy Farm, bringing years of experience in dairy farming as well as different farming systems.

Chair of the Donald Pearson Farm (DPF) Board, Julie Pirie, says it was a long process to find the right candidate for the role.

“This position is a sole charge one, with responsibility for managing the farm, reporting to the board and hosting visitors. The successful applicant needed to be well organised, a good communicator and enthusiastic because the role of farm manager is effectively our CEO,” she says.

Sam’s strengths, she believes, are communication, organisation and pragmatism as well as a willingness to seek help and advice, which she knows will improve his skills along the way.

The DPF Board was hoping to attract a Young Farmers member to the role - which Sam brings, with a long history involved in the organisation including as Chairman of the Lincoln Club, Christchurch District, Tasman Region and a previous NZYF Board member.

“The late Donald Pearson was hoping that his farm could be managed by a Young Farmer looking to learn skills of a dairy farmer and help the next generation. I think he would be proud to see Sam on his farm, fulfilling that wish,” Julie says.

Raised on a dairy farm and feed mill in the Manawatu, Sam holds a Bachelor of Agri-Commerce from Lincoln University.

Excited to start a new challenge with the Donald Pearson Farm, he says it’s a privilege to have been appointed.

“I have a broad range of skills that I bring to farm with knowledge from a wide variety of different farming systems, and I'm keen for a new challenge. I am also very excited to be involved with developing the farm both from a farming perspective, but also in its role of encouraging the younger generation into the agricultural sector. I really believe the Donald Pearson Farm can be a great asset to our industry, so I feel very privileged to have the chance to be involved with that,” he says.

He brings four years’ experience as a Dairy Farm Advisor with Farm Right in Canterbury as well as two years working in different farming systems in the United Kingdom with wife Liana.

“I worked on a 3,500 hectare cropping farm in the UK where the business was also developing a small beef unit. They operated a commercial grain store, did straw bale contracting where they bale about 100,000 bales per season and ran a large game bird shoot. During my time in the UK I learnt a lot about farming systems in the northern hemisphere, and gained a much greater appreciation for the way in which we farm in New Zealand,” he says.

Speaking of his involvement with Young Farmers, he says he first became a member when he moved from the Manawatu to Lincoln University on the day of the February Earthquake.

“All of the roles I have had within Young Farmers has provided a huge learning for me, and has helped me make great friendships across the country,” he says.

With two difficult seasons on the farm, the Donald Pearson Farm Board has had to persevere through high capital spending and management challenges as well as a severe drought, which is still impacting the farm.

The focus for the DPF Board for the coming season is to improve soil fertility and pasture composition.

Sam shares the same vision.

“My priorities for the coming season are to improve pasture quality, increase pasture harvested helping to increase production efficiently, as well as improving the quality of fencing on the property,” he says.

Julie Pirie says the DPF Board is looking forward to helping Sam achieve Donald Pearson’s vision for the farm, including milking 10 Shorthorns – keeping Pearson’s favourite breed on the farm.

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