Methven - Cropping Farm
Andrew has been a RENZ host since 1993. He runs a 300 hectare arable farm near Methven, growing around 11 different crops. Always eager for new opportunities, Andrew is always trialing new cropping opportunities in the hope to find a niche and a new exciting option.
I have had one trainee each year since 1993, and of more recent years I have accepted 2-3 trainees per year to work with me. I can’t really say how many trainees I have ever had, since I lost count after about 30.
Trainees are often very motivated to learn and take on the understanding of how we farm in little old NZ. We love when a trainee takes an interest in management and understanding of the crops, because this enables us to work as a team with all jobs required on our farm.
For anyone who is nervous about being a host, know that we never have many concerns with our trainees. Sometimes we worry about if a new trainee will meet our expectations, or if their personality will clash with ours. Sometimes it seems daunting to have to train another person each time, but this enables us to show them exactly how we want them to do different tasks. Sometimes we have trainees where all they want to do is work and no play, but these are all things of small concern. The benefits well out weigh any possible negatives.
Having trainees on my farm has taught me a lot. I have learned to be patient, and make a job list that my trainees can work through (this gives them a chance to organise their own day and have a sense of achievement). I have also learned how to work alongside someone whose second language is English. Also, It costs each trainee a beer each time they hop into or attempt to drive our ute from the left side.
I have also learned new farming techniques from trainees who have well developed farming backgrounds from a different country. I have learned about different cultures, and even a new card game!
We welcome our RENZ trainees into our family. We have a meal night each week, and games when time allows (not for everyone but that's me). We also have our trainees cook us a cultural meal from their home country. I still keep in contact with the trainees who worked on my farm. So far, out of the 30+ trainees I’ve had, many are in contact with me at least once a year. Some have married and now live in New Zealand! I've even been to 2 weddings in Switzerland.
As seasonal employers, RENZ helps a lot in filling a gap, which is difficult to do with local labour which usually requires longer term employment. I think that RENZ does a very good job of promoting New Zealand, and helps trainees to have lasting good memories to keep.