Holly Sandoe's story isn’t as textbook as some others, but it is a story driven by passion, determination and a will to prove the blokes down at the pub wrong about women in Ag.
Holly's hunger for farming developed at a very young age with her parents working on a LandCorp sheep, beef and deer farm situated in Mawheraiti on the South Islands West Coast. Although she was only a toddler when they left the farm, her Dad still continued to work the odd farm job in Marlborough which Holly was lucky enough to go and help with here and there. This was where her addiction began.
Years rolled on, Holly finished High School and entered in the work force. She tried her hand at a few things but nothing ever seemed to feel natural or right for her. That was until she got a job with a local wine company. Holly drove tractors and harvesters for around three years and had an absolutely amazing time while working for them….she also got a kick out of telling blokes what she did for a job too! Still, she wasn’t quite satisfied. Holly tried and tried to find and approach farmers who were willing to take on a 5 foot bugger all female with no dogs, no real experience, no ag specific qualifications but a wealth of passion to offer. Understandably it wasn’t an easy task, so because of that, Holly decided to take a leap of faith and move to Northland.
Once North, she got a part-time job working for one of the rural retailers in Whangarei. After a while she, and partner Joe, realised they needed to make a little extra money, so with that in their minds went door knocking at farms close to where they lived. And lucky for them they knocked on the right door – the Clements door. After stopping in one evening to have an informal meet and greet, Joe and Holly had both managed to get work….all because the Clements took a chance on the two, something Holly never knew would be possible!
Two years later Holly is now full-time working on the Clements Hereford,
Charolais and Poll Dorset stud located on Northlands picturesque Tutukaka Coast. Running a team of 3 dogs and her horse, who she is beginning to use when mustering cattle. Holly's job entails all kinds of different skills, some which she had learnt already and others she learnt on the job. "I can fix a fence, drive diggers, trucks and tractors and I can muster or work cattle and sheep….and like so many other women in Ag, I’m a jack of everything and a master of none."
"Farming is my passion, the outdoors is where I am most at home and when I’m not working you’ll find me out on my horse or in the hills hunting. It really is the good life and I really am LIVING MY DREAM! All of this happened because I never gave up, I persisted and I proved I was worth having around and the Clements saw that in me which I will be forever grateful for. Because of this success I endeavour to not only succeed in what I’m doing but to also inspire other women (or men) that despite the lack of experience we may have, anything is possible with the right attitude and the right employer. And once you get your opportunity, the sky is the limit. I’ve seen myself grow and go from strength to strength. I have better knowledge, more experience and a wider range of skills to help me achieve goals that I continue to set for myself."
Where Holly's passion will take her, she is yet to know…perhaps breed her own line of stud Herefords. "Either way I am excited for the journey that lies ahead and the challenges that will cross my path. and for that, I am one lucky chick to be a woman in Ag!!!!"
We absolutely agree, we are so lucky to be women in Ag! The challenges and adversities we face are often which make us in to who we are today so what ever comes your way Holly, we are pretty confident you will nail it.