Twelve questions

Sarah Stuart poses 12 questions to well-known faces

Twelve Questions: Simon Washer

Simon Washer, 25, was last week named Rural Bachelor of the Year at Fieldays. He's a sharemilker on his family farm in south Taranaki and says he needs to find a partner pronto as his cooking is pretty much limited to roasts.

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1. So, how many calls, emails, texts, stalkers have you had since winning Rural Bachelor last week?

I had the cellphone in my back pocket when I won and it didn't stop vibrating for a couple of hours. I've now got 80 texts on the cellphone and 180 emails to browse through.

2. Did your mates hassle you about entering?

That's an understatement.

3. You're a dairy farmer: are profits booming?

I've got the biggest overdraft I've ever had as I just started sharemilking this month. My staff and farm expenses get paid on the 20th of every month but I won't see any income until September. Our company Fonterra is doing a great job and looking after us this year.

4. Your granddad set up the family farm after returning from the war: how much pressure do you feel to make it succeed?

Little to none. I can honestly tell myself each day this industry is what I love doing. The best advice I've had from Jim, my granddad, is "Find what you love doing and you'll never work a day of your life". I'll be telling my kids that too.

5. What if you'd wanted to be fashion designer?

It wouldn't have mattered. I get a kick out of seeing people really enjoy their job and that's what makes the top 3 per cent stand out and succeed. Granddad probably would have wanted it to be agricultural fashion though.

6. Why are you single at 25?

Well we did have to sign something for Fieldays saying that we weren't in a relationship but it's only been in the last two years that I've really found who Simon Washer is, what I want to do in life and where I want to go. I think once you get to that stage you naturally settle down and a partner and kids to share it with is right up on my list.

7. Do women expect too much from men these days?

Definitely not. They need to expect more! Sorry, guys, but I see too many good ladies settling for mediocre relationships. You see a real good lady who deserves a top guy who will look after her and do a lot for her but usually it's the woman doing everything. There are good blokes out there - I met seven of them at Fieldays last week (other bachelor finalists). I think there is a bit of a difference between urban guys and rural guys. We're a bit more traditional, more family orientated probably. It's a different life on the farm.

8. What qualities are you looking for in a wife?

A lady who knows what she wants, is independent, committed, not afraid of getting out and dirty on the farm and coming home to a good family. Respects herself and others around her. I'm a sucker for ladies who are involved in the ag industry.

9. What would make you run screaming from the room?

"OMGEEE ... is that cow shit I can smell?"

10. We hear so much about social media and technology changing the world - has it fundamentally changed anything down on the farm?

Definitely. Smart phones will change the way of farming and our productivity. You can check the weather, your cows' health, use GPS, write up a time-off roster and purchase feed all from the back of the farm. I've set up my own website to jump on this bandwagon - farmfeed.co.nz is a site where farmers can view and tender for all of New Zealand's supplement feed from their smart phone or computer.

11. Describe your morning routine.

My alarm goes at 4am and I'm out of the house at 4.10am. Then I get the cows out of the paddock and into the shed for milking by 5am. We do that for two hours, then start feeding out silage and when they're fed we go home to feed ourselves. I have Weetabix, those little ones with the bits of fruit in them - rich man's Weetbix - and I go through emails. No shower, I just shower at night - Aucklanders won't like to hear that - but it's a pretty good scrub down to get the cow shit off. It's a half shower really. And then we're back out on the farm at 9am. We finish up about 6pm and I grab a quick dinner - sometimes it's those Weetabix things again. I live in my own house on the farm and I can cook, well a roast anyway, but sometimes I'm too busy. That's where a partner would come in handy. At night I work on my website. I'm usually asleep by 10.30pm.

12. What's your view of Aucklanders?

Guys, stop worrying about buttoning up the very top button on your shirt and wearing pants three inches too short. The future of our country and the agricultural industry relies on you. I hope you're ready for it.

- NZ Herald

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