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More than just accountants

Walton dairy farmer Colin Sinclair admits it was a steep learning curve when his farm business expanded and he took on more staff. Sinclair and his family run two farms, milking a combined 750-800 cows.
 

When the second farm was purchased it put extra pressure on all aspects of Colin’s life. He changed from working with a contract milker and one staff member to having four employees. “There was a lot of pressure at that point. In a nutshell, we probably wouldn’t have that second farm anymore and I may not be married,” he says.
 

Through People Lift, a new Dairy NZ programme, Colin found mentor John Brosnan, the Human Resources adviser at CooperAitken. Brosnan provided crucial support for Colin, especially at the start when things were extremely challenging. “I don’t think the outcome would have been this good without John’s mentoring.”
 

Colin started focusing on pasture management and leadership. He holds regular staff meetings and staff have clear guidance in what is expected of them.  He also changed the farm’s accountant over to CooperAitken, which allowed for more transparency and financial changes in the business.
 

He describes his current staff as “fantastic”. When Crystal gave birth to their first child, one of his staff who was scheduled for the weekend off offered to cover for him. He doubts this would have happened two years ago. Right now things are “looking awesome” on both farms.
 

Colin acknowledges that staff relationships are difficult to get right and the dairy industry had to keep working to improve its reputation in this area. “We have to get it right, legally and morally.”
 

For help and support regarding Human Resources or Business Mentoring call the team today on 07 889 7153.

 

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