From holiday job to lifelong career – new field rep’s passion for dairying

Sara Korteweg

Sara Korteweg fell into dairy farming 15 years ago as a means to an end. Now CRV’s new field rep for North/East Southland and West Otago is using her knowledge and expertise to help other dairy farmers achieve their goals.

Sara loves her job, but admits she originally got into dairy farming merely as a way of funding her travel to Europe.

“Fifteen years ago, I had my heart set on heading overseas, but I needed a job for six months to earn my plane tickets. A farming friend was short of workers during the calving and mating season, so I said, ‘I know nothing about farming, but you need help. So why don’t you teach me, and I’ll make myself useful till it’s time to fly out.’”

Instead, she grew to love the farming life and eventually became a sharemilker. During those years, a child arrived, and her family expanded, to the point where fulltime farming became unworkable.

“As my daughter grew and needed more of my time, I started doing ‘mum hours’, a nine to four shift. Long term, I knew it wasn’t sustainable. I also knew that I wanted to stay in the world of farming, so I began looking for a job that would keep me involved.”

That’s when Sara saw the field rep opportunity with CRV.

“Ever since I started rearing calves, I’d had an interest in the genetic side of things. As a sharemilker, your herd is your biggest asset and I was constantly looking for ways to develop my herd, to make this asset even better."

“So, way back then, I trained to be an AI technician with CRV. I knew that if I could understand how breeding could help me achieve my goals, I stood a much better chance of increasing the productivity of my animals. Who knew that one day I would end up working for CRV!”

Sara’s job involves a lot travelling and a lot of listening. When she visits a farm, the first thing Sara does is ask about the farmer’s breeding strategy. If there’s already a strategy in place, her job is to help the farmer breed cows to help them achieve their goals. If there isn’t a strategy, she works with the farmer to create plan to maximise the profitability of their business.

When it comes to breeding genetic traits into a herd, Sara says it’s important to find the genetic balance that suits your specific farm system.

“There are a range of desirable traits you can go after. Milk production and efficiency are big ones. So is reproduction. Then you’ve got health traits and longevity.

“CRV knows how to tailor a breeding plan to get the right balance. Our team knows how to give farmers the right mix of traits to help them achieve their goals.

“Because I once owned a herd myself, I love working for a company makes life better for farmers.”