Swapping Mercs for milking cows
Luxury car salesman trades in old life for job on a New Zealand dairy farm -- and says it's a dream. By Darragh McCullough
Two years ago Bill Moore was the embodiment of the Celtic Cub. Flogging Mercs by the dozen, he was raking in close to a six-figure salary.
Now he manages 580 milking cows on a farm in New Zealand, and, as he says himself, "has never been happier".
"My South African wife, Anke, had always been on to me about moving to a country where the climate was more like where she's from," explains Bill. "So one night around Christmas in 2007, I just googled 'farming in New Zealand'. 'Marvin farms' was one of the first things that came up and I sent them a message asking what was the story on working in New Zealand. Within an hour I had a reply. It said, 'when can you start?'
"Six months later we were on our way. It sounds like it was a daft decision since I had a great job selling cars, a lovely apartment and here I was signing up for a lifetime of long hours at half the wages. But we were specific about what we were looking for. Somewhere close to a town so that Anke could get work, the sea and mountains because we love being in an area where we can pursue our sporting interests."
Bill and Anke are serious athletes. Both were professional cyclists and now they get more time than ever to indulge in their sporting pastimes.
"We start at 5am every morning but you're considered a complete fool if you're still in the yard after 5pm that evening. That means that I have plenty of recreation time every evening."
Farming in New Zealand is not for the faint hearted. You work fast and hard and there is no room for shortcuts, according to Bill. "We follow procedures for everything, and everyone has designated tasks to handle." There are three full-time staff, including Bill, on his farm. They have just completed their 12-week calving season, when all 580 cows calved to grass -- 270 calved in just 10 days. "It sounds hectic, but whether you're collecting 10 calves or 37 (which was our biggest day), it's the same procedure and all pretty stress free."
Bill grew up on a dairy farm in east Meath and was always happy to help out at home. "I spent four years working on the farm after leaving school and then another four as a Glanbia sales rep so I have a very good knowledge of farming," says Bill. "But I've already got brothers helping at home. Dad won't be retiring anytime soon so it didn't make sense to try to start farming in Ireland.