Rebecca Dawkins is a born and bred city girl from Auckland. She found herself in the primary industries by complete accident when she fell in love with a farmer, she met her now husband Tim through mutual friends and they ended up in a long distance relationship. For three years she worked in Auckland during the week and travelled to the Waikato on the weekends to the farm where Tim was working. While Rebecca was at the farm she was able to get out and experience what happens inside the farm gate. She was blown away by how interesting, technical and skilled the work Tim did was and it really got her thinking about where our food comes from, and how grateful she was for the work that went into producing milk. A paddock full of grass and happy cows to look at while enjoying her morning cup of tea certainly appealed too!
In 2008 Tim's employers were looking to expand their farming operation in the South Island and offered him the opportunity of investing as an equity partner in a 1200 cow dairy farm in Dipton (Southland) which he jumped at the chance to take up. "At this time it also meant having a chat about the direction of our future, but it wasn't a hard decision and off to Dipton we went! Moving to Dipton has meant a complete overhaul of my life and although I miss my family and friends it has been the best thing I've ever done. I'm a big believer in making the most of what you've got so I figured if I was going to permanently move to a farm then I wanted to do whatever I could to help keep the wheels turning. I went from a gate opener in heels to riding two-wheelers and milking cows to now learning more about the administrative side of the business and I find it all so rewarding! I've learnt a lot about myself and the dairy industry over the years and I think I'm very fortunate to be a small part of it. I love that with farming you can see the impact the work you do has and that I am in a constant state of learning and being challenged."
The couple are now equity partners in multiple large scale dairy farms in Southland. Her role has evolved over the years as the business has expanded from milking cows and feeding calves to having more of a focus on administration, operational support and learning more about financial planning and strategy. Rebecca enjoys the variety of work she gets to do and working with the team they have. Outside of their farming business she has previously worked off farm as a Training Adviser at the Primary ITO and she currently volunteers as a Dairy Women's Network Co-Convenor for the Northern Southland Regional Group. A role she finds really satisfying, to be able to give back to an industry organisation that has given her some great experiences and learning over the years and she has found the role to be a great way to meet others, learn and share ideas.
Rebecca's most important role is being a mother to her two small boys, Jack aged 4 and Thomas aged 2. "It's really important to us that they understand how we make a living and that the milk we produce helps to feed people all over the world as well as the importance of looking after our animals, land, people and being a part of our community. If they choose to be farmers when they are older they will be 7th generation farmers! (From their fathers side of course!)"
What a jump from Auckland to Southland and one we are sure moulded you into the strong AgWomen you are today! Such an important role to keep the wheels turning and we think you are making all the difference!