An Invercargill legal firm handled $300m Mooving Day transactions the busiest it has been since 2008.
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RACHAEL KELLY/STUFF Mooving day marks the date farming families, shareholders, contract milkers and employees across the region move to new farms – sometimes walking their cows on the roads from one farm to another.

However, others are warning the number of farm transactions handled on June 1, regarded as the official moving date for farmers, shareholders and contract milkers, may signal some have exited the farming industry completely.

Southland law firm AWS legal says it processed 60 mooving day transactions, at the value of over $300m this year.

“The firm hasn’t seen numbers like this since 2008,’’ partner Toni Green said.

Many of the transactions were farmers who were expanding and buying new blocks of land, and there was an increase in the number of sharemilkers buying their first farms, which was pleasing to see, she said.

“It’s not just about the numbers for us though, it’s also a day of tears and celebrations as we see farmers with years of farming history move into retirement and help young farmers into their first farm. It makes it all worth it.”

But Southland Federated Farmers sharemilker section chairman Jason Herrick said the big number of transactions might not spell good news for the dairy industry.

Staff shortages and increasing regulation from the Government were causing people to move on, he said.

“People are definitely getting out of the industry. I’ve interviewed a few sharemilkers who are getting out while they are still young and can go and start another career because of the uncertainty going forward,’’ he said.

“You’ve also got your corporates buying up land for trees, and your older farmers selling because the kids don’t want to come home and run the family farm.’’

There were also a lot of dairy farmers buying grazing blocks at this time of the year, which would also contribute to the big number of sales, he said.

“There are still a few first farm buyers, which is great to see, but there’s not as many as there used to be.’’

REINZ data shows Southland recorded an increase in the number of farm sales for the three months ended April 2022, with 21 properties selling.

REINZ rural spokesperson Brian Peacocke said there were good sales in the Southland and Gore districts during that time, with line honours going to the Southland team due to the cross-section of sales at steady prices in the dairy, dairy support, finishing and grazing categories.

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