Head Shepherd

Keys to a successful succession with Rick Morris.

May 29, 2023 Rick Morris Season 2023 Episode 134
Head Shepherd
Keys to a successful succession with Rick Morris.
Show Notes

In this podcast, we sit down with Rick, a seasoned farmer whose parents moved to his family farm in the 70s as a child,  as part of the families succession plan. Rick now runs a self-replacing composite flock, focusing on early maturity, fat, muscle, and health traits such as worm resistance. Rick also sheds light on his involvement in the Farm Owners Academy as an accountability coach and how he's creating a legacy that his daughter can carry on in the future.

Rick lives on his family farm which he moved to as a young boy in the 70's when his father took it on as part of the family succession plan.  "From then on it's been a really mixed operation. Dad ran it with the approach of having many enterprises and spreading risk. We were doing the same based on that conditioning for quite a while... and soon worked out we weren't doing anything really well. [We were] just working ourselves into the ground basically."

So, things had to change. "l knew what i enjoyed doing, which is the most important thing in my opinion." After attending a production day and coming across breeding values for the first time, he was blown away. "You can dial up what you want, and you can just go for it. And they work." Rick decided that was the route to take. They now have a self replacing composite flock selling store lambs and surplus ewe lambs as breeders.

Genetically they focus on  early maturity, fat, muscle and health traits such as worm resistance.

Their challenges now are doing a better job of triplets and hoggets, with Rick saying they're 0.25 of a CS below where they'd like to be.

Farming in 575mm rainfall area, footrot COULD also be a big challenge, and is why Rick farms composites. And, of course, Mark poses the question if they could have a footrot free Merino, would they?

You'll have to listen to hear that answer.

Rick is heavily involved in the Farm Owners Academy as an accountability coach. Something he really enjoys. 

Rick also covers the great efforts of volunteers after the Kangaroo Island fires. And it wasn't just the recovery effort that was a positive from the fire. 

"Our daughter came home and spent two years with us." Rick says he's proud of himself for not 'putting her off' during that two year period. "I worked really hard in terms of getting the right mindset and I'm proud to say that [my daughter] is on a path that will more than likely see her come home to the farm" 

Rick's changes in mindset, outlook and farm practices is what allows a farming family going through a successful succession, not only from Rick taking over from his father, but also creating a place his daughter wants, and can, return to.

Head Shepherd is brought to you by neXtgen Agri International Limited, we help livestock farmers get the most out of the genetics they farm with. Get in touch with us if you would like to hear more about how we can help you do what you do best - info@nextgenagri.com.

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