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A couple on the right track in pursuit of a dairy dream

Roley and Yranee Monoy continue to reap the rewards of their hard work.

The couple, who moved to New Zealand in 2008, were among the first Filipino workers to arrive in the Waitaki district as the dairy industry experienced significant growth.

In their thirties and with two young children, they saw an opportunity to pursue a dream, and

Mr Monoy has taken up a position as assistant herd manager on a 1200 cow dairy farm in Corriedale. As well as caring for their children, aged 2 and 4 at the time, Ms. Monoy helped on the farm and worked nights in the packing aisles of the New World.

Two years later, the couple were granted residency – and started thinking about how they could progress in the dairy industry.

They moved to Papakaio, where Mr. Monoy became the second manager of DK Farms, and Mrs. Monoy also worked full-time on the farm.

They were well supported by their employers, Doug and Kirsti Rogers, and loved the Papakaio area, where their children settled well in school.

But after three years with the Rogers, they were ready to advance their careers again and began looking for farm management positions.

“Doug Rogers, who might be one of the nicest people to work for, I could have stayed with for years,” Mr. Monoy said.

”Corn . . .there was just a part of me that always wanted to progress.”

One of Ms Monoy’s close friends, Barbara Richardson, suggested they also consider applying for contract milking jobs. His guidance and trust in the couple was crucial to them, and they received an offer from Dairy Holdings to take over a 420-cow farm near Papakaio.

“We got the contract trading post without having any experience in running a farm,” said Monoy.

Two years later, Dairy Holdings offered them the opportunity to take over a larger 920-cow dairy farm, Awanui, also in Papakaio.

They went from employing one staff member to three full-time employees and hiring three more part-time employees during calving. They started milking 920 cows in Awanui, and they now have 1050, and hope to reach 1200 in the coming season.

Prior to moving to New Zealand, Mr. Monoy, who holds a bachelor’s degree in agriculture majoring in animal science, spent 10 years working in the poultry industry.

Ms. Monoy worked as an insurance underwriter in the Philippines, but she came from a farming family and was used to this way of life. At present, she is studying agro-industry management, working as a quality control inspector at Alliance Pukerui, and taking care of the administration of their agricultural enterprise.

Team effort. . . Roley and Yranee Monoy credit their success to their staff, (third from left) Carolyn Belita, Ronell Bautista and Joviel Laraga.

The couple, who were high school sweethearts, loved working for Dairy Holdings, appreciating the company’s support network and investment in people, and said there was a lot to enjoy about their jobs.

It was hard work at times, but they appreciated the flexibility it gave them, as they both enjoyed family time. Their daughter, Leyanne (17), is in her first year at the University of Otago, studying health sciences, and her son Drewbert (15) is in her 11th year at St Kevin’s College.

Running their own farming business, Woodland Acres, had been a learning curve, but they enjoyed the challenge. This coming season, they would own just over half of the herd.

In three years, their goal was to be 50/50 dairymen, owning the entire herd.

The couple entered the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards this year as an opportunity to compare their farm operation with others and get feedback from industry experts. They were surprised to be named finalists in the Canterbury and North Otago area.

Although they didn’t win Farmer of the Year at Tuesday night’s awards ceremony, they said it was a great experience.

“It gives us more confidence now to continue with our business, that we are on the right track,” she said.

They wanted to inspire other Filipino dairy farm workers to pursue their dreams in the dairy industry and hoped to see more become business owners.