Kelly and John's story of growing the Rylib Group from the ground up, is one that showcases the value of hard work, determination and having a clear vision to be industry leaders.
It started on completion of their tertiary studies when both Kelly and John embarked on adventures overseas, eventually meeting each other in England. Returning as a couple in 1992 they continued their ascent up the corporate ladder until the arrival of their first child (Ryan), in 1995.
In 1996 a long-term goal began to take shape as they purchased Kaiwaiwai, a 205ha sheep farm in Featherston, which they converted to dairy milking facilities accommodating 440 cows.
Hit by the 100 year drought in just their second season, Kelly was forced to return to full-time work in Wellington as the couple hired a full-time nanny and desperately tried to keep their dream alive. Over the next three years they drew virtually nothing from the business, pouring any available funds into attracting quality people and developing their business model.
Once they’d established a solid foundation for the business they set about expanding, initially purchasing the adjacent 71ha parcel of land in Featherston, before acquiring another 140ha, de-converting it, improving the irrigation system, splitting it up, and selling it off.
In 2005 they sold Kaiwaiwai and purchased Ma Taua and the Fairmont Farm, both in Mid-Canterbury. From there they bought the Delarbe Farm in Hinds in 2008 and added Hauroa to their portfolio in 2009, bringing their total milking platform to 865ha producing 1,700,000kg of milksolids.
In 2013 they invested again, buying the 340ha Haslett Block, a sheep farm which they converted into two identical dairy farms, each milking 780 cows.
In August 2015 they purchased and converted 214ha now known as Akitu Dairies Ltd which will milk 820 cows.
In 2018 Lloyd and Kerri-Ann Rayner bought us out of our investment in Diversion Farm.
The 2017/18 season will see the Group's total milking platform being 1275 ha producing 2,500,000kg of milksolids.
They now permanently call Christchurch home with their two children (Ryan and Libby), who are incidentally the inspiration behind the company’s name. The Rylib Group offices now also take pride of place on the same site as the family home, a 4ha block on the outskirts of the city.
John and Kelly attribute their success to the quality people they surround themselves with; highly efficient individuals at the top of their game who they trust to make the right calls. They pride themselves on the unique culture they’ve created, sharing and celebrating the company’s success with those involved, encouraging healthy competition between the farms, and nurturing a work hard / play hard environment.
Having created the business from scratch they appreciate the challenges their employees face, and take great pleasure in opening doors and providing opportunities for them that may otherwise have been simply unattainable. The people at Rylib Group are, without question, the company’s biggest asset, and the passion and enthusiasm they share has been a vital component in the success they’ve achieved to date.