dairy farm buyers


PHOTO: MARK TAYLOR/STUFF Mark and Cathy Nicholas say the burden of running a farm is lifted if they are both involved.

“To buy or not to buy” – that’s the question on dairy farmers’ minds as they weigh up whether now is the right time to invest in some rural real estate.

Milk prices are up, land values are flat or falling, cow prices trending down, interest rates low and Fonterra shares in decline – all ingredients for dipping a toe into ownership.

“There’s a lot of opportunity out there. We looked at over 20 farms and we became pretty good at doing budgets quickly to figure out if a farm could work with the budget we had. We put offers on a few of farms which weren’t accepted, before finding the Tirau farm where our offer was accepted through the tender process,” Mark and Cathy Nicholas say.

Even so, it would not be everyone’s choice of a career. For a start there is the early morning milking, the isolation, uncertain markets and the constant criticism from townies over water quality.