A Kiwi farmer's blend of dairy, fishing and conservation: A peek into Phil Musson's world

A Kiwi farmer's blend of dairy, fishing and conservation: A peek into Phil Musson's world

With a day that starts at the crack of dawn, 400 cows to manage, and a seat on the North Canterbury fishing game board, Phil Musson is a man who knows how to balance his passion for fishing with the demanding life of dairy farming. 

When asked if balancing the chores of a 400-cow dairy farm with a seat on a fishing game board can feel a bit overwhelming, Musson told REX host Dominic George it’s all in a day's work.

"Actually pretty good, because I head down there on the weekends or days off and can fish nice and early in the morning," he explained

"Dairy farmers are good at getting up nice and early."

The flexibility of farm life and the calmness of fishing early mornings, he said, helps keep his mind "in the right space."

Musson's perspective on water conservation and quality, born from his dual roles as a dairy farmer and an avid fisherman, is particularly enlightening. He has witnessed first-hand the significant efforts of his peers to clean up waterways. 

"I think there's been a huge amount done, especially on dairy farms around, tidying up waterways and things like that." 

However, he acknowledges that the reputation of the farming sector has been tainted by a few bad apples.

"I think that's happened, but the majority... do a lot of work because they live on that farm and they're trying to look after the waterways."

As a member of the North Canterbury fishing game board, his role involves policy setting, and contributing to the maintenance of the region's fishing areas. 

He explained that the board's work is more about governance than administration. However, he admits to being the 'lone wolf' in terms of being the only farmer on the North Canterbury board.

For Phil, the tranquillity of the early morning at the Rekaua river mouth is an unbeatable experience. 

"My favourite place is, like probably just breaking dawn, down the mouth of the Rakaia.

"You've got the ocean … It's just so peaceful and you can just relax and forget about everything else that's happening around you," he reflects.

The conservation efforts and passion for fishing run deep in Phil's family, and he is passing the legacy on to his children who are also eager to join him on his fishing trips. 

"I've got a couple of kids that are pretty keen to come down with me as well, so that'll be a bit of fun."

Listen to the full chat between Phil Musson and Dominic George above.

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