Sharing a journey into dairy farming

ESTHER ASHBY-COVENTRY
Last updated 10:05 25/03/2014
 	 timaru frances coles farming
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SHARING TIPS: Temuka farmer Frances Coles will talk about financial literacy and business administration skills at a series of The Dairy Women's Network (DWN) workshops in April.

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Temuka's Frances Cole is sharing her journey, from a non farming background to becoming an integral part of a farming business, with other women who are following a similar path.

The Dairy Women's Network (DWN) is running a series of workshops in April to highlight the important role many women play keeping farm accounts as well as working and to teach dairy farmers that effective business administration has as much potential to contribute to their businesses' profitability as milking cows.

The workshops will be held in Darfield and Oamaru facilitated by Mrs Coles, and by Annabel Craw in the North Island. Mrs Coles said for a lot of dairying women it was not a role they had chosen as they had often fallen into it through a relationship.

"Many women don't realise the key role they play."

She said the workshop sessions will be interactive and help participants identify and realise their value as well as learn tips and brainstorm with others.

Mrs Coles and her husband Aaron own a dairy farm and have investments in three other dairying businesses, including a farm equity partnership, contract milking arrangements and shared ownership of a herd on a 50/50 sharemilking partnership.

Thirteen years ago she was working fulltime off the farm and "fitting in" the accounts around everything else. As the business grew she realised the administration requirements were getting beyond both her resources and some of her skill set.

She is no longer working off farm, and has learnt to say "no", use time management better and meet the demands of her three children. In the workshops women will be given tips on how to get more enjoyment from the work they do.

"I am looking forward to sharing my journey ... and encouraging others in their journey," Mrs Coles said.

DWN chief executive Zelda de Villiers said there is huge variation in profitability between New Zealand's best and worst performing dairy farms.

"Investing in business administration skills has the potential to significantly close that gap," Ms de Villiers said.

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- The Timaru Herald

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