Spotlight on Rian Paderanga

When the alarm clock starts buzzing at 4.30am, most folk would take a moment to contemplate hurling it through the window.  Not Rian Paderanga.  For Rian, that alarm is a reward for working hard.  Because working hard is something Rian certainly did.

As a child growing up in the Philippines, life was different.  Back then, he would have likely preferred to stay in bed, dreaming about farming.  His old man came across to New Zealand a little while before, taking up a job working on a farm, so that’s what he wanted to do.  

“As a young boy - you want to be like your Dad” says Rian.  “Your Dad is your hero”.  Following in his hero’s footsteps was young Rian’s ambition, and at the age of 15 he made the move to New Zealand with his family and settled on a farm in Southland.  “Waking up, being around cows and doing stuff outdoors.  It was fun”.   

It must have been.  Not long too long after moving here, Rian set himself the target of managing a farm by the age of 25.  He just needed a company that believed in him as much as he believed in himself.  His journey began working on a family-run dairy farm.  Lessons were learnt, skills acquired and experience gained.  “I stayed loyal for 4 years but there was no room to move or to grow” says Rian.  Appreciative of his start in dairy but keen to progress, he came knocking on our doors.  We’re glad he did.  

“Matthew has been really supportive since Day 1.  He’s shared lots of wisdom and tricks”.  We’re not sure exactly what tricks Rian is talking about but it’s fair to say the boss knows a few.  “The support at Fortuna is all around you.  You don’t get that on other farms”.

Obviously, we’d agree.  We like to grow people as much as we like to grow grass.  But enough about that - let’s get back to Rian.  He’s keen to point out more about the support he gets.  

“Having a Sustainability Manager role, which is what Annika does, is so helpful.  That’s one of the ways Fortuna is different.  We have different people who are experts in what they do. You get to learn from them.  I am” Rian says.  

Most of that learning must have sunk in.  Rian has progressed to take charge at Miraka Dairies, where his team milks 580 cows on 230 hectares of land in the Edendale District.  At 26, he’s doing pretty well for himself and has even come to terms with the more temperate climates of Southland.  “It's tough managing when the paddocks are really wet but you get used to it and know what to do”.  Also, he points out the weather ain’t as bad as some folk believe.  It can’t be, as Rian says; “Where I was born is a bit warmer but I’m happy here”.

We’re happy he’s here too.  And we know the feeling really is mutual…”if you want to look after your land, look after your cows and learn how to look after your people, Fortuna is the best place.  They’re nice people” says Rian.  

We’ll take that.  We know what you’re thinking though.  Does Rian really enjoy the alarm going off at 4.30am?

“Every day I want to get up and make sure the cows have had a good feed and are ready for a milk.  I always look forward to the day”.

That says it all, really.