Trevor and Angela Corbin moved from Northland to Southland in 1999 to sharemilk for Tasman Agriculture with the intention of purchasing a farm by 2005.
With large numbers of people converging on the South Island, buying and converting farms, prices had skyrocketed, so the Corbins sold their herd and moved to Tutira in 2006. The intention was to invest their equity in the family farm. They wanted to keep running the farm as a drystock enterprise on Angela’s parents farm. Ian and Eileen Watts owned the family farm at the time and six months ago formed a partnership with Trevor and Angela. After much discussion within the partnership, and prices of sheep not faring too well, it was a natural decision to convert part of the farm into a milking enterprise.
At the time all the decision making processes were taking place, Fonterra had just brought out Gisborne Milk Supplies, and was actively seeking new suppliers.
Ian, Eileen, Trevor and Angela went to one of the Fonterra meetings, which was soon followed up with a visit from a Fonterra representative.
A feasibility study was done and the family were accepted as suppliers for Fonterra. Bankers were then spoken to, and finance arranged to convert the farm and build a new shed.
There were three factors that were main contributors to the conversion. Firstly, being able to employ staff made for an easier lifestyle, and allowed for time out, as well as future proofing the farm and allowing for the succession of family members to take over the farm at a later stage.
Secondly, was the Fonterra canvassing, and thirdly Ian and Eileen had spent a number of years developing an underground bore. “We finished that off 15 months ago.” said Trevor. “Tests at the time showed there was enough water to irrigate 75 hectares.