With a passion for education, Lisa Anderson brings enthusiasm and a different set of skills into her Waipahi home in South Otago. Together with her husband Raymond and their 2 boys Nic (15) and Sean (13) they farm 540 hectares comprising of sheep, beef and dairy. Raymond’s mother is also involved with the property along with their fantastic sharemilkers who have been part of the team 10 years. Lisa & Raymond run the sheep and beef side of the operation where Lisa describes her role as the farm administrator and ‘The Worker’ when she is required.
Not one afraid to get her hands dirty, Lisa grew up in a farming family where memories of helping on the farm and caring for animals were all part of it. Her mother often reminds her that she said she would never marry a farmer but these words were eaten long ago considering Lisa and Raymond celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary last year. Lisa jokes that “we have been together a lot longer but being a typical farming man he was in no hurry.”
Lisa loves nothing more than to reading stories and completing activities with young Primary School children who are enthusiastic about anything and everything as a relief teacher. She finds it’s a job that is very flexible enabling her to organise, most of her school dates well in advance so that farm work can be organised around it. Whether it be drafting, drenching, weighing, inoculating, dagging, or penning up, Lisa will be there whenever an extra pair of hands is required. She is taking up more and more relief teaching now that both her sons are at Gore High School.
Lisa was also fully immersed in Clinton Playcentre when the boys were there, it was parent run and so she studied to get her course 3 and be able to run the education side of sessions. She says it was a fantastic way to meet other parents who have become lifelong friends.
Lisa has always been heavily involved in Clinton community engagements. While the boys were at primary school she was part of the ‘Parent Teacher Association’ (PTA) as the communications officer until the last AGM and still sits on the Board of Trustees (BOT). She is also in the Clinton Pool committee. With the dry weather back in February the planned BOT trail bike ride was cancelled, so they are now organising a lamb/baleage drive and there is sand and woodchips to organise for the playground that they just had a working bee on. Sounds like enough to keep anyone busy without everything else Lisa adds to it.
Lisa became involved in the Clinton Community Pools Committee when her oldest spent most of his pool time on the side with blue lips because the water was too cold. “The pools on the school grounds are an amazing asset and not having to travel to a pool means more short lessons, we are very lucky.” Lisa is now the chairman of the committee and the pool complex now has 2 heat pumps and last year it got a $130,000 reroof, a very satisfying result after a lot of fundraising.
By now you have probably guessed that Lisa is not very good at saying No, but she reckons she is getting better at it and has started delegating more.
Like most years this year has been far from quiet, beginning with continued preparations for the Southern Field Days - Waimumu. Lisa thoroughly enjoys being part of a committee of like-minded, positive people who work well together to put on an amazing event. They are constantly reviewing all aspects of the field days to improve the smooth running of such a large agricultural event.
Lisa’s main task is the ‘Innovations Convenor’ but I also order uniforms, make signs, organises the site awards and the food tent. She was asked to join the Southern Field Days committee after a very windy field day in 2004, where many tents had to be dropped and erected again on the first day of the event. “As the Otago/Southland Regional Young FarmersChairperson at the time I was blown away by the number of Young Farmers who answered my call to help.” The Southern Field Days are run by volunteer past and present Young Farmer members.
New Zealand Young Farmers has been a big part of Lisa’s life. She joined back in Nightcaps when Raymond was a member and loved it. She found it was a non-threatening way to learn basic farming skills but what she really enjoyed was learning how to organise events. It was also a great way to be able to have a go at treasurer, secretary and chairperson roles, along with debating and public speaking. She has also been part of the grand final organising committee in Invercargill 1997 and again in 2004, as well as part of the grand final conference committee in Gore 2010. It was during the 2010 finals that she was awarded a lifetime membership for Otago Southland and is looking forward to the 50th Grand Final celebrations in Invercargill in July.
There aren’t many grand finals Lisa has missed attending and even though she says there is one or two where she has just been a spectator she has also attended many outside of the region as the Otago Southland AgrikidsNZ liaison. These have included Auckland, Christchurch, Taupo and Timaru.
She really enjoyed putting together modules for AgriKidsNZ grand finals and being part of another great committee. They pride themselves in always having more teams enter than they can handle at the Otago Southland AgriKids regional contests, Lisa says “travelling is not an issue for teams from the south and young farmers has been an amazing way to see our countryside”, it has also enabled her to travel to Masterton to participate in the Golden Shears and a national Landcorp leadership camp in Napier / Hastings.
Recently the Agri-Women's Development Trust (AWDT) ‘Understanding Your Farming Business’ course taught Lisa many things, like if she got a chance to do it all over she would study agriculture and economics at high school (instead of physics and shorthand typing) but mainly that what she does on the farm and with the family, organising paperwork and doing the books; is valuable to their business.
“I may not be making the decisions in the paddock but my input counts. I would encourage you all to take part in this great course. I'm still learning the ins and outs of GST and income tax but learning is good for you”.
When asked what does she do for herself it didn’t surprise us when she said “…. well Young Farmers and Southern Field Days are for me”. She commented that she gardens and maintains the house because someone has to. But Lisa does enjoy tramping and got back into this when asked to help a group of students from Catlins achieve their The Duke of Edinburgh's Awards, she has seen many tracks in our beautiful backyard like the Humpridge, Routeburn, Greenstone and Hollyford and had a special trip with her sister-in-law tramping Tongariro. “I even dragged Raymond along a few years ago to tramp the Milford Track.”
As a family they enjoy boating and fishing trips along with a spot of camping. And like many parents they see a fair bit of countryside with the boy’s rugby in the weekends.
Lisa is proud to be an Agwoman and why wouldn’t she be, some amazing achievements have been meet over the years and you continue to have a huge impact on the industry you are part of Lisa, especially with the next generation of farmers. We wish you all the best on your future adventures and thank you for letting us share your story.