A dream of an almost-perfect investment

LYN WEBSTER
Last updated 07:35 09/07/2012

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Lyn Webster

Farming profits not for get-rich-quick investors Day off? Yeah right Sunny skies, growing grass makes for happy farmer Canine helper worth his weight New mother a force to be reckoned with Hard slog on a bog Many trials and rewards of going it alone So much for a cruisy day off Helicopter harassment a farmer's burden Calling the shots is liberating

Last night I had the strangest dream.

I was in a board meeting with an accountant, a property investor and Trev from Te Kauwhata. We all wanted to invest money in Fonterra's new shareholders fund.

Scientists and nutritionists had discovered a new health property in milk which, if developed, would add value to milk, bringing it way beyond commodity price. But they needed money to develop and market their discovery to China.

If we participated in the fund, thousands of capital dollars would be invested bringing the new value added product to market rewarding us with high returns for our business acumen.

"I'm in," said the accountant.

"Where did you get your spare money from?" I asked him.

"Well I could have gone farming but my brother did that. I was so clever I got a student loan and went to university for three years and now I am an accountant.'

"But where did the money come from?"

"Well most of my clients are farmers. We do their GST, tax returns, income equalisation accounts and shift them from the Herd Scheme back to the National Standard Cost and back again."

"But you can't do that any more," I said.

"No, but it was good while it lasted."

"So you got your money off farmers, then," I said.

"Well I worked bloody hard for it," he replied. "Those office ladies take a bit of organising."

"I made my fortune by building cheap boxes in Rotorua," said the property investor. "We called them houses and rented them out to beneficiaries. Beneficiaries make great tenants, especially solo mothers. The rent money comes straight from the Government to me. We don't let them get their hands on it or it would all be gone. I've got a few spare mill lying around to throw at this cash cow. Count me in."

"So you got your money off people's taxes then," I said.

"Well I worked bloody hard for it," said the property investor. "Those beneficiaries wreck those houses you know, parties all the time."

And we didn't need to ask Trev where he got his cash from. But he wanted a sound investment that would benefit New Zealand. So he was in.

"What about you Lyn, how much will you invest?" they asked.

"Unfortunately, I can't," I told them.

"But you're a dairy farmer", they cried. "You have to invest in your own industry."

"All my cash is tied up in cows and machinery." I explained. "I have no spare cash, I owe the bank too much money."

"But dairy farmers are doing so well at the moment. The milk price is higher than ever before."

"Production costs are high as well," I said. "It costs a lot to run my business."

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"I have an idea," said the accountant. "If the milk price was cheaper it would cost us less to make our fantastic value added product and we would get a better return on our investment."

"Yaaayyyyy," said the property investor and Trev.

"But hang on a minute, mate," I said. "If the milk price is lower, how am I ever going to get ahead and save some money to invest in the shareholders fund with you guys?"

"Cows are worth a lot at the moment," suggested the accountant. "Why don't you sell the herd and put the money into the shareholders fund and collect the great dividend like us?"

"Yes, then you will be able to sleep in every day like us".

"And your hands won't be green."

"And you won't stink."

"Aaaaagh!"

I woke up in a pool of sweat, and luckily too, because it was 5.30am, and I was already late for milking.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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