For Rebecca Miller there was never a dull moment growing up in a dairy farming family. As the eldest of four siblings she recalls it was all hands-on deck come calving time as one kid to a pen while Mum would bucket the milk in.
Tractor time with Dad was always fun, with two kids on each side on top of the mud guard holding on for dear life. It’s a lot different now of course, but fun none the less as she has had the privilege to raise three of her own children in what she calls their special part of the world. The wide open green space of Canterbury.
Together with husband Brent, they currently share milk 1150 cows and are entering their fourth season. Rebecca says you just about need to be a jack of all trades. She currently manages all the accounts for their three farming businesses, administration, human resources and is the chief calf rearer. Rebecca says when she thinks about their journey to date it shows the strong partnership they have built. She is proud of the relationships and reputation that they’ve built around them. Their team of three team members which is increasing to four this season, have stayed with them – 10 years, 6 years and 3 years consecutively. So we can only guess that they are awesome people to work for.
Rebecca says they have a strong “Family” which has made all the difference in empowering and reaping many benefits. They realised early on that together they really can achieve more.
Rebecca’s background isn’t really one you would think would lead her to a life on the farm. She studied Travel and Tourism, Media Arts, and Graphic Design, combined with working in National and International businesses, corporate sales, marketing, administration roles. However, she has found many of the skills to be extremely transferable when it came to managing people. Rebecca has a true love of people and gets joy out of seeing them happy, growing, learning and seeing them advance in the industry is one of her personal values.
Encouraged to start her own Dairy Women’s network group in South Canterbury, launched Rebecca on a journey that today she is still gaining benefits from. The Mid-Canterbury Dairy Women’s network was next, and for four years she loved how the network extended connections with many amazing women in farming. This included involvement in a research project called Dairy Fatigue, where participants went into a deep dive on what the triggers to fatigue were on farm. It was revealing, and together Brent & Rebecca took on board a lot of what they discovered during the project.
One Rebecca’s personal highlights was her first speaker series, with Lynda Clark, called the Drive Behind Your Team. They had a lot of fun travelling around the South Island, and it reaffirmed to her when they were sharing, what many of the drivers that leads to a happy and empowered team were in fact things you cannot buy. Rebecca describes it like the Intangibles, the mortar in between the bricks, or glue that sticks everything together. A question that they asked the ladies was “What was your best job, and why”. They had fun and filled the whiteboard. On reflection, the things that were the most important, didn’t cost a cent. It was about being valued, listened to, empowered, getting feedback and accountability.
Currently, Rebecca is in phase one of the Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme and has a new and exciting challenge, on the pathway of an Entrepreneur. As an AgWomen, Rebecca is very proud to be in an industry with scope, strong, resilient, and creative people.
“Leading into the next phase of agriculture will take all of us together, and I can’t wait.”
We can’t wait to see what you come up with Rebecca, keep inspiring others & reaching for the stars.