Twelve years ago Sue McKay had never milked a cow. Instead her and husband Stewart, had a million dollar mortgage with seven properties, and ten houses rented out. They also had a 7 day a week hydroponic lettuce business which was contracted out. The couple had two young children, one went to school 10km in one direction and one 4km in the other. Looking back Sue remembers that they didn't have a life, didn't socialise, they just worked.
Then Sue got sick with a very extreme version of Menieres Disease, effecting the inner ear. She used to fall over without warning, and had to give up her job. Some days Sue couldn't function at all, "I lost all hearing in my left ear which meant I couldn't be in a room with more than a couple of people as I got upset when I couldn't work out who was talking or what was happening. It was isolating and I felt very alone." Stewart had to leave home at 4.30 each morning to deliver the lettuces, as well as look after Sue and the kids when she couldn't function. Unable to drive for 3.5 years, Sue didn't leave the house without him. They had to sell all their properties and their business. Times were tough both financially and mentally.
The couple decided to go dairy farming, and they have never looked back! "We have we had good and bad days. But what we learned during those dark days has set us up for this year. We haven't worried one iota about the payout. We learned to think outside the square, how resilient we are and how you do get through rough times." Dairy farming has given Sue and Stewart a life they couldn't dream of, time with their kids and overseas holidays. "Its made our dreams come true. We now own our own dairy farm, run multiple other farms, and own approximately 1000 cows and young stock."
Sue began a farming Facebook group 7 years ago, and still admins the page. She enjoys helping others through this forum and sharing her experiences. "I've been on the bones of my arse, I've faced bankruptcy. I've been incapacitated and I've been lonely. But what I am most proud of, is bringing up two beautiful kind girls. Nothing beats that pride!"
Wow Sue you have been through so much and you must be so proud of the amazing life you have now. Credit to you to where you are today and good luck with everything in the future. You deserve it!