Bringing out the best

By Country News on August 11, 2016
  • Bringing out the best

    Siahn, Jacob and Kevin Lebrocq on their award-winning Rokeby dairy farm. They are among the top performers for all cell counts.

There’s more than one silver lining in the dark clouds floating over Paul and Lisa Mumford’s farm at Won Wron.

As they struggle to balance the books in a tough year, the Mumfords have seen the best of their family and are taking the chance to improve every aspect of their farm business.

With a $200 000 hole in this year’s budget, it’s a hard way to do it, but they are getting help from a heartening and unexpected quarter.

Their daughter Jessica, who works part-time while at university, has dipped into her savings to help the cash-flow on the family farm.

Jessica’s contribution isn’t likely to put the business back in the black, but her gesture is a boost to both finances and morale.

“We are borrowing money off the children and that’s not pretty (but) I don’t think we are unlike other farmers,” Mr Mumford said.

For Jessica, the loan is a small way she can help while her parents grapple with economic forces out of their control.

“The loan doesn’t bother me and I know they are going through some tough times,” she said.

“Other than working here, we can’t do much. So it makes us feel good to help out. We’re very family orientated.”

When long-term well respected farmers are borrowing money from their children, it shows how deeply the milk price cuts are biting into dairy businesses.

While the Mumfords examine every detail of the farm operation looking for cost-saving measures, they can at least see the benefits that a re-assessment of the business will bring.

For those who can make it through the current downturn — and the Mumfords fully realise not everyone will — there will be benefits in regard to long-term management practices.

“This year is going to make us all better farmers,” Mr Mumford said.

“It will make us fully aware of what the cost of production is and will force us back onto a grass-based system.’’

By Country News on August 11, 2016

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