Thursday, 13 May 2021 11:55

Major progress for farm management graduate

Written by  Staff Reporters
Matt Walker Matt Walker

Farming is in Matt Walker's blood.

Having grown up on a farm, he realised from a young age that he wanted to continue the family tradition of working on the land.

Studying at Lincoln was a no-brainer for Matt, as he knew it would put him in the best position to "move up the ladder in the farming industry".

His success has been phenomenal. Only a few short years after completing the Diploma in Farm Management, he's not General Manager of Alpine Pastures in Central Otago, managing four properties and 10 fulltime staff members. “I use the knowledge and skills I learned at Lincoln every day,” he says. “To put it simply, I wouldn’t be doing this job if I hadn’t gone to Lincoln.”

The Diploma in Farm Management offered Matt a good foundation of theoretical knowledge, which he was able to put into context during field trips.

“Once I left uni, I was able to apply these skills in the real world. They gave me a real point of difference against other applicants when applying for jobs.”

Studying a small course with a group of likeminded people also proved very powerful.

“There was always someone to talk to and bounce ideas off,” he says. “My classmates are now spread throughout the country and overseas. Everywhere you travel, you bump into people you know, which allows your network to keep growing.”

After leaving university, Matt began his career journey as an experienced shepherd at a breeding and finishing operation in North Canterbury, where he was strongly encouraged to use the skills and tools he had picked up during his time at Lincoln.

“The big takeaway from this job was learning how to feed stock and budget properly.”

Just 18 months later, he moved into a Stock Managers’ position, and then took on his first Farm Managers’ role two years after that.

“I have been fortunate to work for some very knowledgeable and encouraging people who aided in my progression,” he says. “In December last year, six years after I finished my diploma, my role developed from Farm Manager at Lindis Crossing Station to General Manager of Alpine Pastures Central Otago.”

One of the most rewarding parts of his current position is offering new opportunities to staff and supporting them to develop their skills.

“Working and living in a positive, fun environment is the key to learning more, moving forward and getting the most out of every day.”

Matt says he relishes the challenge of managing finishing properties, as the environment is always changing.

“You need to keep your finger on the pulse to manage stock flows, fine-tune the system of feed demand and supply, and capitalise on opportunities as they arise. At the end of the day, this allows us to grow stock to their full potential and meet – or ideally, exceed – our annual targets.”

He has also developed a major passion for building efficiencies in the business by implementing new technology, which helps to place the organisation at the forefront of farming in New Zealand.

“My challenge moving forward is to continually evolve our practises on farm to meet consumer demands, creating a profitable, sustaining farming business that we can be proud of.”

More like this

Start recording your fert usage

Farmers need to start now keeping accurate and detailed records of their fertiliser use to meet new pastoral nitrogen limits, says Ravensdown’s Phil Barlow.

Nature's Champion

The academic who helped seed enthusiasm for undervine cover crops in New Zealand has left a legacy of biodiversity in vineyards.

A bright future in agriculture

Recent St Peter’s School Cambridge graduate, Annabelle McGuire, set off to Lincoln University in mid-February full of excitement as she embarks on a Bachelor of Agribusiness and Food Marketing qualification.


SIDE heading to Ashburton

For the first time in its 23-year history, the two-day South Island Dairy Event (SIDE) is heading to Ashburton.

Open days on feeding calves

A series of open days will run in the North Island this month on controlling feed intake of calves and…

Rankin gets board role

The 2019 Dairy Woman of the Year, Trish Rankin, is joining AGMARDT as an associate board member.

Machinery & Products

Major deal for AgriQuip

New Plymouth-based AgriQuip has been appointed as the exclusive importer and distributor of the Major Equipment brand, with the aim…

Giant stands tall on goat farm

A Dutch Giant is playing such an important role at Schuler Brothers' Te Aroha West goat farming operation that the…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Nestle's admission

OPINION: It is the biggest dairy company in the world but Nestle is under pressure after admitting that more than…

Milk is healthy

OPINION: Promoters of 'healthy' plant-based 'milk' take note! Regular consumption of cow milk is not associated with increased levels of…

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter