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Take 5 with Rob Barry

After an epic adventure around the world, Rob Barry returned to the Central Hawkes Bay four years ago and settled his new family. He is currently working as a Managers Assistant on a 1220 cow dairy farm.

The farm is part of BEL Group, a Family Corporate farming business Rob's parents built up over the last 30 years. They have nine Dairy farms milking 9500 cows in total and seven dairy support farms (three owned, four leased). Since calving Rob has been block managing Ellingham and 400 cows.

1. In 5-10 words what is your farming philosophy?

Leave it better than you found it - Scouts motto

2. What is your favourite time of the year on farm and why?

No favourite time, I enjoy the changing of the seasons and the variety of jobs and weather that comes with it.

3. What ways do you work to actively listen to your team and what have you found to be most successful?

I stop myself replying immediately and defending the situation, giving myself time to process what is being said. I have found working alongside team mates whilst doing a task effective, so that its not a formal environment and this allows them to speak honestly. When you have a similar conversation over a table with eye contact the answers are typically what they think you want to hear, not what they honestly think and feel.

4. What do you do to switch off from the farm?

I always take my rostered days off and spend them with my kids, getting away for a night or two when possible. I find it hard to switch my mind off as I'm always thinking about something. (Agriculture, Dairy Industry, Parenting etc) I have found Headspace app or a comedy on Netflix is great for turning off.

5. How would you describe your leadership style?

I admire leaders who collaborate and communicate well, so this is the style I try to replicate.

6. What podcasts or tools would you suggest to someone who would like to learn more?

Anything else you would like to share?

Be honest with yourself and ask for help and advice to succeed.

Rob met his wife Alison while traveling and working as a ski instructor in Wanaka, Canada and Switzerland. They now have two children, Freddie (2.5yrs) and Mabel (9 mo).

Rob will be competing in the East Coast Regional Final of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year in April. His late father, Peter won the overall competition back in 1993.

In his spare time, Rob founded and leads the Tukipo Catchment Care Group, a farmer led group with a goal of improving water quality in the Tukipo River.

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