The growing number of women involved in Silver Fern Farms are intelligent and dedicated with a diverse range of skills that would impress and inspire anyone. And they’re helping change the face of New Zealand agriculture through innovation, resilience and lots of hard work.
Hannah Morrah - Ohineumeri
A holiday in Taupo changed her life. That’s where the former student from Dunedin, who graduated with a commerce degree and a Masters of Business, met Sam. A third-generation farmer on the 755ha Ohineumeri property, near Waipukuau, Sam would later become her husband. Morrah’s commerce studies are now bolstering the family’s business and her personal goals. The one-time Channel Campaign Manager for EziBuy, Hannah now organises events and marketing for Silver Fern Farms in the central North Island around her farming role. It is a job she cherishes, along with her role as mum of three children (Franca, 10, Ottalie, eight, and Harvey, six), and Sam’s commitment to the day to-day management of the farm allows Hannah to focus on her multiple responsibilities.
The way we operate as a farming family is amazing.
“It marries in nicely with our farming operation,” she says. “What I see going on outside the farm gate adds benefits to what we’re doing within the farm gate.” For Sam and Hannah, the consistent delivery of world-class cuts of lamb comes back to understanding their consumer. They also remain at the cutting edge of innovation; they were among the first to connect with FarmIQ, a programme devised by Silver Fern Farms to capture stock, weather and pasture data. It has helped them run their farm smarter. The Morrahs are loyal Silver Fern Farms suppliers because they embrace its Plate to Pasture strategy.
Hannah appreciates the connection the farm lifestyle affords her family. “The way we operate as a farming family is amazing – that involvement of dads on a daily basis, of kids being able to go out into the workplace, which is their home,” she says.
In the community, Hannah has been involved with Central Hawkes Bay Plunket for 10 years, as well as the play centre, and the Wallingford Ladies’ Night – a fun evening designed to break down the barriers for women entering our community. She has also extended her skills through the Agri-Women’s Development Trust. “It’s not just men out there farming. It’s a team effort,” she says. I encourage women to take ownership of that.”
Last year, the teamwork ideal was brought home in a dramatic way when Sam was diagnosed with a brain tumour. “Within a week, he was having surgery,” says Hannah. Just as quickly, the couple discovered the robustness of their farming systems and the power of community. “We had amazing support,” says Hannah. “For Sam, it meant he could focus on getting better. For me, I knew we could bridge this gap.” Sam made a full recovery. That’s the power of community.