From city life to farm life
Col Wilson met his wife Di when he bought some drench from the local vet clinic and won a trip to Sydney where Di was living at the time.
After a whirlwind romance and a year of long distance phone calls, Kiwi-born Di made the move back across the ditch.
“My friends laughed when I said I was moving to Whakatane to live with ‘Colin the cow farmer’,” says Di. “I thought I knew what I was up against but it wasn’t until I started living the life that I realised how intense it was.”
Col, on the other hand, was brought up on a dairy farm, left school at 16 and got straight into it. But while he knew everything there was to know about farming, his business skills weren’t up to scratch.
“I really needed somebody like Di,” says Col. “I’m terrible at admin. I just scribble on bits of paper and have piles of it everywhere.”
Three farms, a baby, and a business plan
Using the combination of Col's background in dairy farming and Di’s business skills, they entered and won the Bay of Plenty Sharemilker of the Year award in 2000.
“After that I became more and more involved with the business,” says Di. “And the administration side of things just got bigger and bigger.”
“She’s putting it mildly,” says Col. “Di was very busy in the office. We were running a big sharemilking job and two of our own dairy farms, we’d just had a baby and I was gallivanting around the countryside.”
They both knew they wouldn’t be able to sustain this lifestyle long term, so they made a ten year business plan – to exit sharemilking, run their own business and reduce Di’s workload. They achieved it all in five years.
“Our accountant was always looking for ways for me to spend less time in the office and make the job easier and quicker,” says Di. “That’s where the programs we use made a difference.”
I like the fact that with Xero I can ring up Katie, I can have Xero in front of me and so does she and we’re looking at the same thing. There’s no confusion. — Di Wilson, Wilson dairy farming
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