Farmer Focus: Interacting with farming people worldwide

Here at Valetta the harvest is done and for someone who loves harvest, I sure was pleased to see the end of this one.

The germination tests for our high-value vegetable crops are looking like they will meet contract specifications, we will be finished drying cereals by the end of next week and all the autumn wheat will be in by tomorrow night, so we are getting back on track thanks to a fantastic team effort.

It is with a tinge of sadness and a sharing in her excitement that we bid farewell to one of our staff – who has been with us for three years – as she heads to your shores for the UK harvest.

See also: Read more from our Arable Farmer Focus writers

Last year Erin left us for our winter and did the harvest in the UK and Australia, before rejoining us here for ours. She enjoyed the experience so much she leapt at the chance of a second summer in Lincolnshire.

Annabelle has returned to her native Western Australia after a year with us. In another two months we will bid farewell to a young lad from Quebec, who stopped off in Mid-Canterbury and chanced upon a job here. 

One of the things I love about this business is the interaction we get with people from all around the world and the opportunities our young people get while travelling the globe with skills that will find them work anywhere of their choosing.

Autumn cultivation work underway at Valetta © David Clark

Autumn cultivation work under way at Valetta © David Clark

When they return to New Zealand they have learned from such a variety of experiences, just as we have seen young people from other countries grow and develop through their travels to our country.

For many years during our time contracting we employed staff from the UK, and while I have, at times, struggled to understand strong accents from the north of Scotland, Northumberland, Dorset and Ireland, I fondly remember these lads as some of the finest young men our family has ever had the pleasure to employ.

So it is with great excitement we have been invited to attend a wedding in Aberdeen next year.

I get a real sense of satisfaction in seeing our business and family interacting with these bright and enthusiastic young people as they live out their adventures and the opportunities that a career in agriculture can provide. 


David Clark runs a 463ha fully irrigated mixed farm with his wife Jayne at Valetta, on the Canterbury Plains of New Zealand’s south island. He grows 400ha of cereals, pulses, forage and vegetable seed crops, runs 1,000 Romney breeding ewes and finishes 8,000 lambs annually.