Passing the baton: succession for Mid-Canterbury rural property
December 2023

Passing the baton: succession for Mid-Canterbury rural property

As PGG Wrightson Real Estate bids farewell to Robin Ford, another well-established name in the region’s farming circles steps up.  

Ford’s 30-year career as one of PGG Wrightson’s top-performing rural property salespeople ends this month.

Stepping into this significant role, with a return to his Mid-Canterbury roots is Jeff Donaldson, whose career spans the international resource industry and a multi-generational agricultural heritage.

“My grandfather acquired the first family farm in Westerfield after World War II, and my journey began managing my parent’s town-supply dairy farm at Ashburton Forks. After my parent’s dairy farm sold about 30 years ago, I moved to Australia to pursue opportunities in the resource and mining sector, making annual trips home to enhance the operations of my own run-off block. I kept the farm up to date and financially successful, including converting what was part border dyke-part dryland property, putting pivots on, and establishing a lucrative dairy support operation. 

“Robin and I communicated frequently, and when I told him that I was moving back permanently, he suggested this career change. He has been and will continue to be an excellent mentor and a wealth of valued knowledge.”

Ford reckons Donaldson’s deep understanding of Mid-Canterbury agriculture suits him well to rural property.

“Jeff and I have stayed connected over the decades and through several property transactions. Jeff understands agricultural success in Mid-Canterbury. Assisting farmers to buy and sell property is an ideal fit for him.” 

Donaldson is enthusiastic for the new role. 

“In my time I have seen the evolution of Mid-Canterbury farming, experience I am eager to leverage in support of local farmers as they take on what is often the most significant transaction of their careers.”

Although retiring from his rural property role, Ford will remain engaged through his shares in several Southland farms and Christchurch commercial property. 

Jeff Donaldson joins Dan van der Salm and Mark Hanrahan as rural property salespeople in PGG Wrightson Real Estate’s Ashburton office.

Two people walking in a paddock with cows
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