Roley and Yranee Monoy keep reaping 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 when the dairy industry was undergoing significant growth.
In their 30s, and with two young children, they saw an opportunity to chase a dream, and
Mr Monoy accepted a job as the 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, Mrs Monoy helped on the farm, and worked nights at New World packing shelves.
Two years later, the couple received residency — and started thinking about how they could work their way up in the dairy industry.
They made the move to Papakaio, where Mr Monoy rose to second-in-charge at DK Farms, and Mrs Monoy also worked on the farm full›time.
They were well supported by their employers, Doug and Kirsti Rogers, and loved the Papakaio area, where their children settled in to school well.
But after three years with the Rogers, they were ready to progress their career again — and started looking for farm management positions.
‘‘Doug Rogers, who might be one of the nicest people around to work for, I could have stayed with him for years,’’ Mr Monoy said.
‘‘But . . .there was just a part of me that always wanted to move up.’’
One of Mrs Monoy’s close friends, Barbara Richardson, suggested they also consider applying for contract milker positions. Her advice, and belief in the couple, was pivotal for them, and they received an offer from Dairy Holdings to take on a 420-cow farm nearby in Papakaio.
‘‘We got the contract milking job without actually having any experience farm managing,’’ Mr Monoy said.
Two years later, Dairy Holdings offered them the opportunity to take on a bigger, 920›cow dairy farm, Awanui, also in Papakaio.
They went from employing one staff member, to three full› time staff, and taking on another three part›timers during calving. They started at Awanui milking 920 cows , and they now have 1050, and hope to grow to 1200 in the coming season.
Before moving to New Zealand, Mr Monoy, who has a bachelor’s degree in agriculture, majoring in animal science, spent 10 years working in the poultry industry.
Mrs Monoy worked as an insurance underwriter in the Philippines, but she came from a farming family and was used to the lifestyle. At present, she is studying agri-business management, working as a quality control inspector at Alliance Pukerui and taking care of the administration side of their farming business.
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 much to enjoy about their job.
It was hard work at times, but they appreciated the flexibility it gave them, as they both valued family time. Their daughter, Leyanne (17), is in her first year at Otago University, studying health science, and son Drewbert (15) is in year 11 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 sharemilkers, owning the entire herd.
The couple entered the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards this year as an opportunity to compare their farming operation with others’, and get feedback from industry experts. They were surprised to be named as finalist in the Canterbury and North Otago region.
While they did not win share farmer of the year at Tuesday night’s award ceremony, they said it had been a great experience.
‘‘It gives us more confidence now to go on with our business, that we are on the right track,’’ she said.
They wanted to inspire other Filipino dairy farm workers to chase their dreams in the dairy industry, and hoped to see more becoming business owners.