Growing up on a sheep farm and being left in charge of everything but the tractor during her university years while her parents travelled overseas prepared her well for the future she was going to live.
As number one supporter of the man running the operation Rochelle Dillon is both an owner and director of Dillon Ag Ltd in Balfour. Like the capable AgWoman that she is, she also handles the office administration for the farm, is a mother of 3 beautiful children and runs her own photography business Rochelle Dillon Photography.
Rochelle attended Lincoln University not really knowing where she was headed. After completing a Bachelor of Commerce she was unsure of what came next.
Her pathway to where she is now started when her then potential and now actual sister in law pointed out an advert in the local paper. It was for a position with FarmRight, a management company overseeing dairy farms for equity partnerships. Her days of milking cows as a poor university student came in handy and her practical experience helped her a lot in her role.
She spent 8 years working for Farmright including the early years when she started her family. Starting out in an office support role, she wanted to be further challenged and set about increasing her skill set, before becoming a Farm Investment Manager.
“I enjoyed being out on the farms, working with the managers to achieve not only the businesses goals, but their own”. There was a lot of diversity in the role which has been extremely beneficial as she moved into farm ownership with her husband Chris. Firstly, leasing his parent's original farm before purchasing two more properties themselves to make the 865ha predominantly arable land that it is today.
Rochelle says they are extremely fortunate to be the 4th generation to farm here and raise a family “how lucky are our children with a river they can swim in on their back door, trees they can climb and plenty of places for riding bikes.”
She may take care of the administration side of things but says all decisions are made together utilising their different knowledge sets and skills. Even though she is not so hands on with day to day activities, you will find her driving a tractor when required and says her lack of tractor driving skills was corrected early on in their relationship making her "useful". Rochelle it sounds like you are an all-round perfect wife.
She continues to increase her knowledge base and keeps up to date by attending relevant workshops, and events held by FAR (Foundation of Arable Research) women in Arable.
She believes she is extremely lucky to have established her photography passion into a business. She has a studio on the farm where she works from allowing her to reap the best of both worlds including being on hand for Chris when required.
“We take pride in our farm and what we do. We are indirectly producers of food, and as food supply versus demand changes we play such an important role in the world. There are so many issues currently facing farmers and now more than ever is the time to be up with the play in regards to rules and regulations that affect you and your neighbours operation and over the last 12 months we have spent countless hours doing just that. It is our intention that many generations beyond us will farm this land and to do that we place a high amount of consideration into our farming practices.”
A strong business couple who know what direction they want to go, and in this case it's definitely true “Behind every good man is a great woman”. Rochelle you are doing your family proud, keep up the great work.