In the space of just two years, including one year working full-time on a farm, Erin has secured a job as a farmer in Southland with her boyfriend Harry, where they manage 550 cows as contract milkers.

Erin has always been an ‘outdoorsy’ person and loved animals. “I would never have got an office job, that just wasn’t me,” she says. Her passion for animals led her down to the Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) after high school to study veterinary nursing.

While the course did involve animals, Erin realised that she was more interested in the larger animals, like those on a farm, and was soon self-employed and milking cows alongside her boyfriend.

While the transition to farming was faster than expected, Erin puts the successful journey so far down to hard work, compassion and a willingness to take any opportunity.

“I’m pretty hard-working, which has helped me get here. Nobody can be a farmer if they aren’t hard-working. Be compassionate. It’s probably the new-school way of farming, I don’t know, but you have to be pretty compassionate to be with animals all the time.”

Harry and Erin seized their opportunity with both hands and haven’t looked back since. “We went for a job we probably weren’t even quite sure that we could do but we just aimed to do it,” she says. “You have to go for something a bit outside of your comfort zone or else you’re probably not going to get far in life.”

While Erin has occasionally struggled as a farmer, due mainly to being away from her family in Wellington and the long hours, she notes that the positives of the job, particularly working at home, make it all worth it.

“The best part about it is definitely working at your house. It seems like you’re working from home, really. You can go home and have lunch, and not a lot of ‘townies’ can bring their kids to work, which one day, for us, will probably be the case.”

The only real regret Erin has about her farming journey so far is that she didn’t study dairying, which she highly recommends if you are set on becoming a dairy farmer. But that regret hasn’t stopped the couple from setting ambitious goals. By the time they reach 30, they hope to have $1 million equity in their farm, before hopefully fully purchasing their own farm in 15 years’ time.

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