Blizzard led to new career

Derek Ayson was a third-generation farmer until a snowstorm changed his career path.

Mr. Ayson grew up in Slopedown where the family farmed their 482 ha estate for more than 80 years.

The blizzard that hit Southland hard in 2010 forced him to reorient himself and he now works as a country and lifestyle sales consultant at PGG Wrightson.

“The blizzard was really the trigger for a change of direction,” he said.

“We’ve had a pretty tough lambing season this year and we realized it was time for something different.”

Mr Ayson, who has been a real estate agent for six years, first worked for Combined Rural Traders/Farmlands Cooperative in an account management role before trying his hand at real estate.

“I really wanted to try it and it soon became a passion,” he said.

His farming background and industry knowledge have proven to be a huge asset in his new career, making him a trusted, relatable agent, Mr. Ayson said.

“It’s a bit daunting to list your farm.

“Many of the farms have been family-owned for generations.

“It’s the greatest asset they have. It takes time to work with customers to get the best deal for their country.”

Most customers are locals from its catchment area, which generally includes the east and north south country, but sometimes extends north and south.

He also has some interest from buyers in other parts of the country looking to buy in the district.

He particularly enjoys helping clients set up new farms, a process that usually begins with a tour of the property in the ute.

However, selling rural property comes with some unique challenges, particularly in relation to land use regulations.

“Guiding people through the process of buying new land for farming purposes or applying for a permit to change the land use of a property can be challenging for both buyers and sellers.”

Despite the challenges, Mr Ayson, who is also known for his success in the rally car scene, said he is happy with where life has taken him.

“Sometimes I miss farming, but we have no regrets.”

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