Episode 16: Cowshed Candour
On the next episode, screening 18 July 2015 at 7pm on TV ONE:
When Northland dairy farmer Louise Giltrap sits down to write her weekly magazine column, chances are she’s just kicked off her gumboots having come in from the milking shed.
Louise writes a weekly column for New Zealand Farmer. She isn’t afraid to tell it like it is and tries to weave common-sense and reality into her columns about everyday life on the farm.
‘I’ve been writing for the last 12 months and now have a regular following each week,’ she says. ‘Many women take the time to email to thank me for giving their husbands a giggle.’
She has also tackled some of the serious issues facing rural communities. Louise has written about diminishing dairy payouts, farm overdrafts, depression and suicide.
She regularly urges farmers to pick up the phone and talk to their accountants and bank managers when things get tough.
‘I tell people to face up to their problems and talk about it,’ she says. ‘I’ve never had a negative response and I’ve had responses from all over the country – mostly from men.’
Louise and husband Geoff have lived on their dairy farm at Okaihau near Keri Keri for two years after moving from Waikato. Geoff says, ‘We just love it here, you’ll have to take me out in a box’.
Geoff is often Louise’s right-hand man when she organizes local fundraising events and he even puts up with his wife disappearing from the cow-shed in the middle of milking to go and write down some of her thoughts.
‘The milking shed is a great place to talk and a great place to think,’ says Louise. ‘I formulate a number of my weekly columns during milking and when I’m hosing down the yards.’
Geoff and Louise can often be found in their kitchen, dispensing cooking tips to Northland’s young dairy farmers.
Every few months they open their home up to teach them how to look after themselves by eating healthy food.
‘These young workers put in big hours on farms and we’ve found many of them get tired, get sick and become really broke very quickly because they are eating too many takeaways,’ Louise says.
This year also holds plenty of promise – Geoff and Louise have taken on a share-milking contract on a neighbouring property.
They’ve gone into business with Louise’s daughter Courtney and her husband Aaron. ‘They’re young and keen,’ Louise says. ‘But they need a hand to get on that first rung of the dairy industry ladder.’
The move will also mean Louise sees more of her grandchildren. ‘They’ll be right across the road, which will be great for everyone.’
For more about Geoff and Louise’s farmstay, visit: www.farmstaykerikeri.co.nz
For more about Northland Emergency Services Trust, visit: www.nest.org.nz
For more about Young Farmers ‘Pay it Forward’ cooking classes, visit:
Post Production Manager