Mickey Trotter and her husband Clem run a livestock business which leases 700ha of sheep and beef breeding/finishing country in Puketapu and 900ha of breeding hill country in Putere. Their goal has been farm ownership, but the goal posts keep getting pushed out. Mickey was brought up on a farm in the Wairoa district, with her dad being the local vet and mum running a manufacturing & saddlery business in the rural town. When it came to tertiary education she was drawn to University of Otago where she completed a Science degree, then a Finance degree from Massey University.
After meeting her now husband Clem on a station in Mahia, Mickey took on a role at the NZ Stock Exchange, NZX, in Wellington. Clem landed a shepherding job out of Martinborough so she commuted 2 hours one way to the big smoke by ute, train and on foot. NZX was diversifying so it bought Agrifax, an agricultural data company. Mickey shifted from one market, to another. There was a lot of phone work in this role, talking to farmers, stock agents, importers/exporters both locally and internationally, collecting prices and information on agricultural and economic markets. "I conversed with some amazing people in the agricultural industry who kept fuelling my interest in the sector."
The two began rearing beef cross heifer calves on the side to kick start their own cow herd. Clem was poached for a role in Hawkes Bay and Mickey began work for Rural Directions Recruitment & HR, a business specialising in rural recruitment and Human Resources. Later there was some contract work for NZX as a strategy analyst helping get their pasture index underway before Mickey and Clem went on their OE. They did a season in the Northern Territory as contract musterers. Thrown in the deep end from day one, they had to adjust to the heat and Brahman cattle, fast. After being cooped up in an office for a few years the long hours in a saddle and sorting cattle in dusty yards was an exhilarating change for the pair. Whilst in the outback, they caught wind of a professional horse-shoeing course at Montana State University so they packed up their swags and moved to the states for four months. As with Australia, it was awesome for them being immersed in the local community and experiencing different farming practices.
Before heading home, Mickey secured a job with iFarm as an editor and market analyst in Hawkes Bay, direct competition to NZX Agrifax. Ironically they are now under the same umbrella as “NZX Agri”. The capital the two had built up from the calf rearing and saving our wages, helped finance stock for the two properties they lease. "We can still see the offspring from the first lot of calves we reared, which is very rewarding."
"Clem and I married and we now have two children. I love the challenge of motherhood and feel very privileged our kids have the opportunity to grow up on a farm. Involving our children in farm life and letting them learn and experiment with a hands on approach is at the core of our values. We both believe it’s important for them to develop an appreciation of risk and a sense of adventure. We are now in a pivotal moment in our life and it appears the ag industry is in for a shake up too. With kids now in tow it’s important for us to find a work/life balance, which is difficult in farming, but we are up for the challenge."
Mickey, it sounds like you have been around the world and back, learning so much about the industry as you go! We are all about finding that work/life balance but we appreciate how hard it can be. Good luck with your upcoming challenges! Go forth and conquer!