Kiri Rupert is a farmer from Peel Forest, South Canterbury, New Zealand. Along with her husband and parents, they run red deer and cattle on 324 effective hectares located in that magic strip of land near the hills which receives enough rainfall to not require irrigation.
Kiri still recalls the first time she wrote “Farmer” down in that space they offer you to sum up your role in life. She was in a plane with two of her besties, about to land in Paris for the beginning of what would be an awesome and essential journey. Up until then it had always been easy to fill in that box for Kiri. She had been a “student” during four great years at Lincoln University, then “Dairy Farm Assistant” for a year or so after that. But setting off to see the world as a qualified adult, there was some hesitation before giving herself that title. "Could I really count myself in the same league as my father? I didn’t have a lifetime of experience working the land, nor an exhaustive knowledge of animal behaviour, or a solid grasp of microeconomics and macroeconomics. I couldn’t diagnose a problem in an engine (be it tractor, motorbike or ute), or put in a strainer post, or give the bank manager a wind-up about interest rates. So how could I be a farmer?"
They travelled around the UK, then after a fruitless and demoralising 3 months trying to get a “city job” (dog walking included), Kiri decided to leave her friends and look for a job in the country. On that first day of applications, her phone rang. She won an interview for a tractor driving role during the Harvest. The tractors were bigger and the paddocks were smaller but it was farming, and the penny dropped; this was for her. "This was what I knew, this is where I belong. With relief and confidence I took the job, made much more money than my city-bound friends, and gained a new and proud appreciation for just how unique the farming sector was back home in New Zealand."
After being back and on-farm for 4 years, Kiri still happily considers herself a “farmer”. Of course she could add a few more titles to that; business-partner, mother, wife, health and safety officer… but she would be none of those things if she wasn’t being myself, doing what she loves. Kiri still doesn't believe that she has even a quarter of the skills that her father has, but she knows that with effort and perseverance she will learn many of them, plus many more. "I love working outside. I love animals and their characters. I love problem solving. These days I spend more time dealing with baby poo than deer poo (no prizes for guessing which is worse) but this is just a chapter in the story, and I’m told it will pass all too quickly so I’m doing my best to relish it." Kiri looks forward to growing; as an individual, as a business, as a family, but always as a farmer.
Kiri we are so happy that you are now confident in filling in that daunting box. You have earned your right to be a farmer and although you might think you are, we believe you are a extremely skilled AgWomen.