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Farming: Logan, Alexa and Ross Wallace of Beacon Hill

12 Jun 2018

These three names are etched on my brain after attending an Otago Field Day on their 290 ha farm at Waipahi where we helped them celebrate winning three significant Otago awards:

  • Balance Farm Environment Award
  • Beef & Lamb NZ Livestock Award
  • Massey University Innovation Award.

The overall impression of the day for me was of Logan, a young man of 28, fully in command of the farm, turning a good profit, paying for more shares in the farming company he is buying from his parents and achieving great things with his experimental wetland and sediment control systems. Water quality is important to Logan, as is retaining soil on their farm and not sending it down the river to sea.

How many young farmers know exactly where the native galaxias fish are on their properties and are monitoring them and improving their habitat? Logan does, of course.

At the two stops on the farm Logan was able to answer all the questions the 60 or so experienced farmers could throw at him. He didn’t hesitate once. They wouldn’t all necessarily agree with him, but he was impressive. Logan’s approach combined recent knowledge gained at Telford and experience working on other farms, but such is his energy, thoughtfulness and enthusiasm he has completed the hand-over of the farm from his father in three years since coming home. The plan was that it would take five years.

Here is ‘farming is a young man’s job’ in action. Youth and energy were a defining feature of what we saw at Beacon Hill. It is true that Logan has had a good start coming from the Alexa and Ross Wallace family. He has two very clever parents who have worked hard and now Logan is standing on their shoulders. I am sure his parents would agree that Logan has taken farming to a new level and it was time for youth to take over. They had leased out their farm when Ross’ health deteriorated and were waiting for Logan to finish his education. He made it just in time.

As part of the succession plan the farm partnership was converted to a company and Logan, Alexa and Ross took one third of the company each, with the idea that Logan will buy his parents’ shares as he can.

Logan has a sister Emily. Emily is a pharmacist. We didn’t meet her, but she is included in the overall succession plan. The farm land is owned by a family trust and the trust will act as a guarantor for both Emily and Logan, for Emily to invest in her chosen career and for Logan to buy farm land to build his own equity. Eventually he will get half the farm from the family trust on the demise of both his parents and Emily will get the other half. He needs to expand as he can in his own right.

Alexa and Ross are secure too. They have a house in Bannockburn they are retiring to. For their income they get dividends from their farm shares and rent from the farming operation passing through the trust. They have capital building up from the sale of farm company shares to Logan.

All in all, a well-thought out and well executed plan, dependent upon Logan in the most part, but due also to the expertise of their accountant, Alan McDonald of Gore.

Keep asking great questions …

             

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