Brown Trout Limited

Traditional work values lead to business success

When it comes to working as a team, Brown Trout Limited owners James Cates and Annie Morrison have it down pat, both working to their strengths.  Thanks to their work ethic, their strong connections in the sheep and beef sector and their individual skills, the Wairarapa business is going from strength to strength.

“James is a very good farmer who has lots of experience in the sheep and beef farming industry.  He is a very skilled stockman and has an excellent team of dogs.

“I take care of our business accounts, PAYE and GST returns, budgeting, office work and support James, helping out on the farm where I can,” says Annie.

Brown Trout Limited leases Kumu Kumu Station, a 1070 hectare property 15 minutes east of Masterton in Wairarapa, running around 9000 stock units.

Kumu Kumu Station is owned by Westmere Associates, which James is a partner of.

James has been in equity partnership at Kumu Kumu Station with Charlotte Williams and her husband David Kember, for 20 years.

James, who grew up on a dairy farm on the outskirts of Martinborough, says he loves being outdoors and the challenges that come with farming.

“I went farming when I left school, worked my way up from shepherd to manager and invested in my first farm with a four-year-old ute as my only equity.”

Since then, James has worked hard to become a top shepherd who has better than average dogs.

“The farming community in Wairarapa is really strong. There is a lot of keen young talent in the industry and there are a lot of opportunities to grow and progress within the sector.

“If they work hard and come into the industry with the right attitude they are going to get noticed.”

One of his great pleasures is being able to pass down his 35 years’ of sheep and beef farming experience and knowledge to upcoming farmers.

“I have a very low staff turnaround. My current full-timer has been with me for two and a half years and the guy before him worked for me for seven.

“I really enjoy bringing on younger staff.  We invest a lot into the people working here and I enjoy seeing them progress on to bigger and better things.”

James and Annie love the lifestyle that owning a rural business allows their family to have.  James is a very keen trout fisherman and enjoys taking time, when he can, to get off the farm. A good work / life balance is a key part to James’ success.

“Fishing allows me to clear my head and come back to the farm with a fresh perspective and new energy.”

James and Annie are hoping to expand their business by investing in another sheep and beef farm.

The couple says that having Moore Stephens Markhams Wairarapa involved from the start of their business last year has been invaluable.

“Alistair McLennan has always been a ‘big picture person’ and we are fortunate to have him involved in our business. He has had input into a lot of the big decisions that we have made and is always ready to back us 100 percent.

“The people we deal with are fantastic, very knowledgeable and approachable. Lynne Hourigan is fabulous. She’s always very prompt to respond to any query I might have,” says Annie.

“Alistair’s professionalism and personality always make dealing with him a pleasure and we know he will get us the results we want.”

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