Trudy Bensted started life out as a townie with no farming back ground what so ever. However she tried it once and that was it, she had the bug. Trudy had dreamed of becoming a farmer since childhood, but found it was always hard to get that first foot in the door. Immersing herself in the rural lifestyle as much as she could from an early age, she competed in NZ Country Music Awards until about the age of 15, and purchased her first horse with her supporting jobs, a paper run before school and working at the local fish and chip shop after.
When Trudy left school she was fortunate to meet a very good Waikato farmer who was contract milking and 50/50 sharemilking. She spent 2 years heavily involved in everyday life on the farm. The couple separated when her youngest was 4 months old, so a new start was in order, and Trudy made a call to continue dairy farming and work her way from the bottom up.
When her son was 2 and a half she decided to try full time office life. Trudy was fortunate to spend a year working on a South Island publication called Dairy Focus and also Guardian Farming. She loved dealing with all agricultural businesses in the low payout season and promoting the businesses she felt were so important to the industry at such a testing time.
Trudy made the call to go back farming after a year as that is where she felt she really belonged. "I had goals I wanted to achieve so I had to get back out in my boots. I've continued to do what I love, get to see my beautiful babies for lunch and breakfast most days and still be home at 5 with the luxury of 2-3 days off. I've pushed myself hard quite quickly so far, as for being a solo Mum some days have been seemingly more challenging than others."
Trudy has used an au pair to balance routines between motherhood and on farm. Her kids love the thrill in learning new traditions they bring from countries around the globe. Trudy loves bringing her kids up on the farm and all of the opportunities that they get from living rurally. Trudy herself is currently in her element, as a sole charge 2IC for 290 cows, 85h.a irrigated block with a 22 aside heringbone, chasing pasture based production, as well as being a team member for the neighbouring farm of 600 cows. "This year is looking busy, but good."
Not long ago, Trudy became a team member for a group called Millennium Farming, a great forward thinking group created by Stu Taylor. "Myself, and a few others are involved in driving the culture shift within NZ's dairy industry. These guys are incredible leaders and it has pushed me to do my first navigational leadership course this year. My goals have always been the traditional 50/50 but I'm now changing my mindset to fit with where our industry maybe in the next ten years and what will be financially realistic for myself - so I'm leaning more to equity management and up skilling myself to have the leadership values to encourage younger staff at a corporatised level.
What an inspirational journey you are on Trudy! A fantastic role model. We love how you have set goals and re-evaluated them as you learn and experience more - all part of growing in our dynamic industry. Keep up the great work!