Since taking on the Growfarm® System in 2011, Glenn and Brenda Hall of Dannevirke have injected passion, drive and profit back into their sheep and beef farm business.
“Through the structured business process that Brendon and Kara Walsh have been helping us through, we have rediscovered our pathway to achieving what we really want from our lives and business, for ourselves and our family,” says Glenn. “Before Growfarm® I didn’t have much faith in farming and was wondering how we as a family could actually get anywhere.”
The family farm of about 900 acres was enough to keep Glenn very busy but there was just not enough spare cash flowing, or spare time to enjoy life. “We asked a friend to recommend someone to help us because we had no idea about the direction we needed to travel. Luckily they put us onto Brendon Walsh from Growfarm®. Brendon came and sat down with us and he very quickly found that we were low on energy, even though we knew how to farm and run animals,” remembers Glenn.
The first priority for Glenn and Brenda was to understand what they really wanted for themselves and family. “I had made a list of 100 wishes,” recounts Brenda. “I guess I really wanted to move somewhere and this was the first step for me. Brendon took a look at that list and offered a lot of encouragement to us. That was the first glimmer that we were headed somewhere very special.” Glenn adds, “I had less wishes than that. My main wish was to just get some positivity and stability in our farm business!”
Four years on, Glenn and Brenda have such confidence in their direction and abilities that they are now farming a 360 acre lease block and generating far more profit than they ever did on the original 900 acres. They have discovered the most ideal types of animals to farm during key profit periods through the year that suit their abilities and desired workloads. These include lambs fattened at specific times and cattle grown for prime or store markets, also at specific times. Breeding animals are now back in their farm system as a complimentary business unit to the aforementioned livestock.
“Once the Growfarm® system pointed out why I was getting nowhere, I learned about the types of animals that would get us generating profit at the right times, and that I wanted to have fun farming,” says Glenn. “I learned how to be strategic in utilising dry matter for profit and the whole path became a lot clearer. It has taken time for me to change old habits though. Early on I figured I had been farming and learning bad habits for 16 years and had been with Growfarm® for just a short time. There would be challenges to forming new habits as we went!”
Brenda has taken a lot of confidence through the challenges they have faced. “Among all this farm stuff, I really wanted to gain my teaching qualification and it was getting tough for me. But through learning how to focus, be strategic and put my energies where they would get me moving towards what I considered most important to me, I have been able to break through those challenges. I now have full time positive work in teaching and have almost completed my registration. I am absolutely loving it!”
“I now know how to generate profit from our farm business whatever the climate or livestock market trends throw at us,” says Glenn. “We are a lot more flexible and focussed on doing the profit fundamentals very well, which is huge for me. The fact that we lease a small property is definitely not a hindrance. In fact I see it as an advantage and our profit of 10c plus per kg dry matter eaten means we don’t have to have scale to be profitable and successful, contrary to popular belief. As we gain ownership of land and grow our business, we see so much upside.”
“One of the greatest benefits for me,” adds Brenda, “is that our kids are learning about goals and focus. We all want our kids to do well and we know our two kids are learning and applying the tools to achieve whatever they want from life, through being there with us. That is a real buzz!”
In typical kiwi understated fashion, Glenn outlines the future. “It looks reasonably bright from here on for us. The future holds some challenges but we are well placed to tackle them head on and create advantages from them. So there is not a lot of downside really. We have learned the skills we need to step up, and our dreams and goals are developing rapidly. The Growfarm® System has provided the structure we needed but it is also the structure to take us on to achieve much bigger things in the future. All I needed to do was get clear on where we wanted to go and be willing to do what it takes. I’m so glad we made the choice!”