South Otago dairy farmer Sandra Campbell focuses on family, friends and connections

Sandra Campbell with a kowai tree grown at her local nursery on her farm in South Otago. Photography: Stephen Jackery

“Farming – it’s us. It’s all around us. It’s our family, it’s our friends.”

That’s how Sandra Campbell sums up her and husband Chris’ life on a South Otago dairy farm, where she has been known to join the odd Zoom call while working in her local nursery.

The couple began dairy farming in 2009, and the innovative and supportive dairy industry has given them the opportunity to grow their business and achieve farm ownership, she said.

They milk 500 cows. Chris “looks after the cows and the grass” while Sandra takes care of the business side and works off the farm for the Department of Primary Industries as farm support in Otago.


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This role, which was not organizational, involved helping farmers through policies, making them clearer and helping to shape a strategy around priorities and steps.

Before that, she was a facilitator for Thriving Southland.

She grew up on a sheep farm, and had a very direct approach to farming; From Lincoln University to rural banking to agriculture.

When Sandra asked “why,” she said it was about interpersonal communication.


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“Because I really enjoy bringing people together.

“I just love challenging the mind and getting out and seeing people.

“Everything is connected. The people in the communities around me, it’s very important to me that they are strong. It’s not easy right now, these people are all our friends and family.

“I enjoy being on the farm but I also really enjoy the people and that’s why I love my role and talking to people and helping them. It would probably be better for our marriage if we didn’t spend all our time together,” she laughed.

Sandra created a red meat profit partnership group made up mainly of women, which she says has imparted a lot of learning.

“Everyone should find people to learn with.”

She is also involved in Gore’s dairy business group and on the board of Otago South River Care.

She had many opportunities and hoped others would have the same opportunities.

Organizing the Enviro Women’s Series — which was about connecting, inspiring and empowering local women regarding sustainable agricultural practices — was about making information locally available.

The Southern Women’s Facebook group was an offshoot of the chain. She said there are a lot of great things happening in the women-centric field that people often don’t know about.


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“I like to push my limits knowing that change is inevitable and exciting, not scary,” she said.

She is now doing an escalator driving course.

She said she and Chris worked as a team and were fortunate to have the freedom to run the business themselves.

“We also have very supportive families who are always happy to help with difficult things, which is very comforting.”

Growing native plants in a nursery on the farm was a fun hobby and a nice change from her job.

The trees will be planted on the farm with an area of ​​about 20 hectares to 30 hectares of fenced furrows that you want to plant.


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She added that the couple had two children, Charlie, 11, and Ryan, 9, and they lived the “rural dream” on their bikes, motorcycles and horses.

    (tags for translation) South

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