Ambitions of farm ownership

Jordyn Crouch and Isaac Algar

Contract milkers

If you think dairy farming means you must work 24/7, think again.

“Many farm owners are willing to accommodate young people entering the industry; it is a fantastic lifestyle, and work-life balance is normal.”

“Going farming does not mean that you’ll be working 24 hours a day and can’t have a life outside of work,” says 24-year-old dairy farmer Isaac Algar.

“There are many flexible farm owners who are willing to accommodate young people entering the industry. It is a fantastic lifestyle, and work-life balance is normal.”

Graduates of Massey University’s Bachelor of AgriScience, Isaac and his partner Jordyn Crouch (25) contract milk 1100 cows near Kawerau in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

“I love the variety, the challenges that we work through each day and the people we get to work with,” says Isaac.

With the long-term goal of owning a farm before they turn 40, Isaac and Jordyn’s time at Massey set them up well for a successful career in farming.

“The important things for us were the connections we made throughout the country that exist today, with our fellow students, lecturers and rural professionals.”

Being exposed to a variety of farming operations in the Manawatu region was also an eye-opening experience for the couple.

“We knew a little about dairy but over the course of our degree we got to look at sheep and beef operations, cropping and deer farms.”

While at Massey, Jordyn received a DairyNZ scholarship. This allowed her to complete university without a student loan, gather some great networks and connect with like-minded students.

“It also gave me a competitive advantage in the job application process.”

In her final year at Waikato Diocesan, Jordyn took English, Statistics, Chemistry, Physics and Biology. Isaac took Level 3 English, Statistics, Physics, Biology and Physical Education at Hamilton Boys’ High School.

They agree that English, Biology, Chemistry and Statistics proved most useful for their university studies.

“English is important as it teaches you how to write and structure paragraphs, allowing you to communicate information effectively. Biology and Chemistry were helpful as there is some degree of crossover between concepts learnt at school and what is taught at university.”

There is a mandatory statistics paper in the AgriScience degree so taking Year 13 Statistics was also helpful.

In their day-to-day farm work, the couple says having a strong foundation in math is helpful and having an interest in science is also important as they rely on science to help them make decisions.

If you are thinking of a career in farming, their advice is to apply for any scholarship you think you will be eligible for and to talk to people in the industry.

“Rural professionals and farmers are always keen to share their experiences and offer advice. It truly is a fantastic industry with plenty of opportunities.”

Isaac, Jordyn and farm team

Article originally published in Leaving School magazine, Issue #18, July 2020.

Jordyn Crouch and Isaac Algar

SCHOOLS: Waikato Diocesan (Jordyn), Hamilton Boys’ High school (Isaac)
TRAINING INSTITUTE: Massey University, Bachelor of AgriScience