Myfanwy Alexander was brought up in the UK in a non farming family, but by the age of 11 she had decided she wanted to be a farmer. She spent her spare time at friends farms, trying to learn as much as she could. At this stage Myfanwy aspired to have a hill country sheep and beef block back in her homeland of Wales.
Then along came University, and despite being told by her careers teacher that she would have to marry a farmer if she wanted to farm, Myfanwy ploughed on stubbornly, a recurring theme in her story. She went to the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester in England and had the most amazing time studying what she loved in such a fantastic environment. As part of her course she had to do work experience for 6 months, she thought why not have a real adventure and headed off to New Zealand to try her hand at dairy farming. To cut a long story short Myfanwy loved the two months she spent calving and could not wait to head back the moment her degree was done.
She found a job with a lovely family in the Waikato and spent the next 7 years working in the region. During this time Myfanwy, had two daughters with her then partner and joined him in a share milking business. They moved down to the Waitaki District in North Otago to share milk 650 cows. "Our relationship ended and he left, with the amazing support of friends, neighbours and the farm owners I saw out the rest of the season. There was no way this was going to stop my dreams of farming, so I took up a job as Co-manager on a local farm." This allowed Myfanwy to develop skills suited to the larger farms and pasture management, while giving her more of a work/life balance or as she says "maybe just giving me time to say yes to more after work activities!"
Myfanwy was Vice chair and then Chairman of the local Young Farmers and is the secretary of their Home and School group. "I also love heading along to our local Dairy Woman Network group, it is a fantastic support as it can be very daunting attending other events in a male dominated industry." The rest of her spare time is taken up with mummy duties and her millions of up-cycling projects!
Next season Myfanwy is headed off to her biggest farming challenge yet, moving to a run off block and working with the owners to convert it to a Dairy farm. She hopes to keep developing her business skills and in a few years reach the point that she can buy her own cows and go 50/50 share milking, or look to head down the equity partnership line. "The final aim is to own my own farm and have something to pass down to my daughters."
Myfanwy finds working on a Dairy farm doesn't really fit in with most childcare options, so she has employed a full time nanny or Au Pair for the past 2 and a half years. This is the only way she could manage and has been fantastic for the girls, providing them with stability while still allowing her to follow her dreams. She finds she is a better mum because she gets to do what she is passionate about. On her days off and in her down time they make a big effort to build lots of memories together and have plenty of adventures. "I just hope I am setting them an example of the importance of making your own way in the world and following your dreams."
You sound extremely hard working with big goals ahead of you Myfanwy. Like many AgWomen you have had to make life work for you and it looks to us as though you are doing extremely well!