Well used to analysing their on-farm performance George and Luce Williams are forever grateful to the many other businesses that contribute to their farm’s smooth operation.
The Williams run Grassendale Genetics, a 1570ha (1040ha effective) farm on challenging hill country on Wairarapa’s east coast.
Though the location might be seen by some as isolated the couple have tapped into a community of talented rural and urban people to help build the strength of their business.
It’s a form of teamwork that, though commonplace around the country, does not get the recognition it deserves.
“We’re not unique.
“Working with a wide range of other people and businesses is modern-day farming,” George says.
There are at least 50 people not solely employed to work on their property who are still directly associated with the farm in some way and that does not include their roughly 100 ram clients.
Most hill country farms rely on a similar number, he says.
Grassendale is a steep, summer-dry property in the east Wairarapa hill country.
As part of winning the Wairarapa farm business award the Williams hosted a field day in March that allowed them to showcase their success to about 250 people.
Those attending heard how setting goals is an important part of the couple’s approach.
They set themselves both personal and business goals, which are written down. One of those goals was farm ownership, another was winning the farm business award.
Not only do the goals help keep them on track and give them targets to hold themselves accountable to, Luce says realising them provides a great sense of achievement.
They encourage others to take a similar of approach. Sometimes outside circumstances will put goals out of reach but knowing what they were and why things turned out the way they did is all part of the learning curve.
It’s that sort of honesty and determination that appealed to the Wairarapa farm award judges who, in recognising them as the region’s top sheep and beef farm business, noted the Williams’ leverage of joint ventures with other parties, genuine business planning and goal-setting, continuous self-assessment and personal growth, an objective and measured approach to running the business, well-structured career paths leading to business ownership and strong commitment to and understanding of genetics.
One of their biggest commitments is to community. Not only the wider farming community but also the local one.
Top of the list though, is family, and always included in their personal goals is making sure enough time is spent as a family with their children Max, 11, Sophia, 10, and Harvey, 9.
Like any farming parents they would love to see their children take over the farm and do things better than they have done.
For now, though, they see themselves as custodians of the land they farm, working with other people to do the best for the land that’s there.