North Shore-city-born Chloe Mackle admits she was well out of her depth when she turned up to her first day working on a dairy farm. Fast forward a decade she owns a successful stock trading company and has signed up her first 500 cow 50/50 sharemilking job in a strong equity position. Sheryl Haitana reports.

Clus Moos trades cows annually, buying in-calf heifers and selling them as proven three-year-olds.

It’s a simple model, one that has catapulted Chloe Mackle up the progression ladder to be in a position to milk 500 cows in her first sharemilking position.

“I’ve been lucky that I have had people around me who have said ‘you can do whatever you want’. That sounds a bit cocky – but I’ve got so many great mentors around me that have had the courage to do things that it pushes me to do things – to be ballsy.”

She recognised as a single female with one income that if she wanted to live comfortably while also building equity she needed more than a wage.

“Living well was important to me. I work hard and I’m not one to scrooge, I want to be able to live well and give well – which to me looks like giving my time, finances and knowledge.

“If I’m always hustling, then I can’t live and I can’t give.”

Clus Moos allows her to have more of a cushion in her business so she can give her time to training staff, her own personal development or to her friends and family.

After a couple of years in the dairy industry working onfarm Chloe bought 20 cows and leased them back to the farm owners where she was working and bought her first rental property.

She later sold that rental and put the equity into 144 cows which she then turned into 531 cows – then her business exploded.

“I have really good stock agents that I deal with, they are key to my business – they’re gold – and I’ve worked with good bank managers along the way who backed me and have entertained my ideas.”

She has found great farmers (mostly through Facebook) to lease her stock.

She’s also given friends and family the opportunity to invest and buy and sell cows through the business.

She also owned a second rental along the way, but has now sold that to go sharemilking.

”It was important to be in a position to be able to jump when the time was right.”

Chloe has always been determined to surround herself with the best people in the industry. She says she hasn’t struggled to find the right jobs, but rather has hunted out the people she wanted to work for.

“I’ve stalked people and I’ve made them take me under their wing, invited myself around for cups of coffee.

“The thing about the dairy industry is there are so many people who are willing to share their time and knowledge with you.”

She says her success is a direct result of surrounding herself with mentors who encourage her and pull her into line when needed.


Chloe grew up on Auckland’s North Shore, thinking her milk came out of a bottle and her meat from a packet.

At 18 she went on a three-week holiday to Southland which would change the course of her life. She ended up getting a job in Southland helping school leavers into work education and training. Someone challenged her that she could never be a dairy farmer, a comment which was enough to drive her into scouting out a job on a farm.

On her first day she admits there were tears when she found herself out in a paddock up close with cows, completely out of her depth.

“I didn’t know farming meant I had to get within 100 metres of a cow. And then I had to get in a herringbone with cows on both sides of me. I cried my eyes out that first day, there have been a lot of tears, there still is. I was so blind and naïve.”

Her first employers Jessica Bramer and Darren Sim took her under their wing and provided her with an environment to learn and she quickly came to love the job and see a career path.

“Jess and Darren were meticulous operators and they gave me the tools and set me up for success.”

They taught her how to look after herself as well as the cows and the business. Having happy cows, happy people and a happy environment are equally important, she says.

“Jess’ passion for cows and how efficiently she could grow grass and turn it into milk, I didn’t unders tand it fully at the time, but it fascinated me.

“It was the cow contact that hook, line and sinkered me.”

Her next move was working at Otautau-based WoldWide Dairy Group for Abe and Anita de Wold. Chloe started attending the couple’s church so she could get alongside the well-respected dairy farmers and bend their ear for a job opportunity.

The job was on a new conversion with a zero hierarchy farm structure where everyone was employed as farm managers and Chloe ended up living with Anita and Abe for her accommodation. It was a huge advantage as she witnessed the ins and outs of how a large operation worked.

“They encouraged me to buy a house and 20 cows to lease to the herd. I think I only made about $25/head that first year.”

But it was her first step into growing her business and leadership skills. That year she also won the 2016 Otago and Southland Dairy Trainee in the NZ Dairy Industry Awards and was runner up in the Otago and Southland Dairy Manager of the Year two years later.

“I developed the enjoyment of business and doing the right thing – I learnt from Abe and Anita a strong moral sense of honesty and that fair play is non-negotiable, that’s something I’ve really carried with me. They are like a second set of parents to me.”

When it was time to progress further up the ladder Chloe decided it was time to relocate back to the North Island to be closer to her family. She wanted to be able to spend time with her family, especially her two nephews who live in Auckland.

“My business was growing, I was leasing cattle to farms in the North Island and Southland was a long way away.”

She got a job working for Peter and Trixie Foote in Northland, who are top operators in the region.

“There I learnt how to run a profitable and productive Northland system.”

She then contract-milked 470 cows for Craig Locke and Derek Barnes at LB Farms in Northland.

“That was a real ride that year. I learnt how to farm hill country, I learnt about employing staff, I learnt about running farms off old water supplies from dams. Craig was the onfarm equity partner, he was incredibly supportive and helpful.”

She then moved to Cambridge to another contract milking position because she wanted to have a go at farming in the Waikato.

“I didn’t want to get through my farming career and not to have tried farming in the Waikato. I will probably end up back in the Waikato.

“For now I have a great opportunity to go sharemilking in Northland and that’s where my network is.

“My new farm owners are really supportive and encouraging and want me in their business.”

Her long term goal is to get to farm ownership through continuing to invest in stock.

“I will probably lower my stock trading numbers and keep it simple.”

When she did the dairy industry awards her goal was to be in a position to be sharemilking with low debt by the time she was 35, she’s flown in and is in that position at 30.

“I say I grow grass, people and stock. If I can continue to do that and work toward farm ownership then I’ll be happy.”


Investing in her own development has been an important part of Chloe’s journey.

“As a woman I don’t think I get any less opportunities. I lack some of the onfarm practical skills, growing up on the North Shore I didn’t grow up driving tractors. But there is nothing that can’t be achieved through FaceTime.

“There have been so many times I’ve been on FaceTime with friends learning how to put the mower on.”

She has studied through Primary ITO from Level 2 through to gaining the Level 5 diploma.

“I’m lucky to have had progressive employers who have pushed my development.”

This year she has entered the Dairy Industry Awards again, this time in the Waikato Share Farmer category.

She has also recently completed the Escalator course through Agri-Women Development Trust.

Escalator is a leadership accelerator programme empowering women with the mindset, skills and connections to create systemic change in the sector and rural communities.

“I applied not really knowing what I was applying for and I didn’t expect to get accepted. But it’s changed my world. I would encourage every woman in the primary industry if they want to grow themselves to do it. It’s been transformational for me.

“I’ve been able to nail down who Chloe is and what Chloe wants, I’ve been able to develop my leadership skills, great networks and I’ve made lifelong friends.”

Those networks and friends continue to help Chloe in her business, for example being able to ring people for advice around budgets or how greenhouse gas figures will impact her new sharemilking job.

“We don’t realise in the agricultural sector how lucky we are with the collaboration.

“I’ve got really cool people on my bus this year.”

Chloe is passionate about giving back to the industry to be able to pass on knowledge and opportunities to progress other careers.

“We have to make agriculture sexy. It has to be attractive so we can grow and be sustainable. To do that we have to evolve with the next generation.