AgWomen Sarah Johnston

AgWomen Sarah Johnston

Sarah Johnston is a rural girl through and through who attributes her values, work ethic and drive for life to her parents who raised her in a supportive family environment on the farm. Growing up on a sheep and beef farm in Culverden, North Canterbury, Sarah has fond memories of childhood and teenage years out on the farm as a family – from eating turnips her Dad peeled with his pocket knife, feeding out hay, grubbing thistles, covering the silage heap, to shearing, tailing, dipping and drilling. Farming was very much a family affair, everyone had a role to play and there was a huge sense of achievement when they came in together at the end of the day.

AgWomen Becky Hindmarsh

AgWomen Becky Hindmarsh

Becky Hindmarsh works on an intensive Sheep and Beef farm in Pirinoa, South Wairarapa. As early as she can remember she had always been an outdoorsy kid who used to love hanging around with her dad on the farm. Always keen to jump on the bike and have a blast around the farm with dad rather than cleaning her room or doing the dishes. Becky has always known that farming was going to be part of her life long goal, however she thought that she needed to branch out and see what else was out there.

Becky decided to study Vet nursing at UCOL via distance learning from home. At the time of studying she was also working for a Romney stud, Gleneiti Romneys, allowing her to study and work at the same time. This was a perfect combination for Becky, her work supporting her to get her diploma, all while gaining some useful skills in regards to the good basis of sheep genetics. Super passionate about animal health and welfare, the two worked well together.

After graduating Becky worked at several different vet practices, both rural and urban, but found that she was always drawn back to the country life. After around three years of doing the city slicker business she decided it was time to pack up those bags and get a suntan all year round by moving back to the Wairarapa.

In her spare time Becky has a small side business called Lobytoe, making homemade soy candles. She supplies her wares to Palliser Ridge and Amberlee Beauty in Masterton, who have both helped her get off the ground and who back her 110%. "I am extremely lucky to have such good friends and support system around me."

At this point in her life, Becky is looking for the next big opportunity. While she would love to be able to go back to the family farm, she likes the idea of grabbing some lease land or an equity partnership with partner, Lucien Keightley, and make their own success first. Becky acknowledges that with farming you don’t always get a holiday every year, you don’t work 9 – 5 ever, but that’s exactly what she signed up for.

"I love being able to watch the progress of all your hard work at the end of the day. You make the difference and you see it in the stock due to your husbandry skills. Im a firm believer that you either ‘have it’ or you don’t, when it comes to stock sense and I have always enjoyed working with animals, probably a lot more than I do with people, if I'm honest. I mean don’t get me wrong sheep and cattle can be the most frustrating thing in the world at the best of times but at the end of the day if they eat the grass, put on weight, and make a good margin, they’re doing alright."

The country air often brings us home Becky! You sound like you have a great plan in place to get to where you want to go.All the best for all of your up coming adventures.

AgWomen Claire Templeton

AgWomen Claire Templeton

Growing up in the heart of the Gippsland Region, Claire Templeton is a fourth generation farmer with a passion for primary production. She grew up working on her parents dairy and beef operations located in Nar Nar Goon, Victoria. Recently graduating from Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga with a degree in Animal Science

AgWomen Hannah Wallace

AgWomen Hannah Wallace

Hannah Wallace grew up in an agricultural background, firstly on a dairy farm in the Waikato before her parents decided to switch to sheep, beef and dairy grazing. Being exposed to both of these industries made Hannah realise that she had a real passion for agriculture, leading to her choosing to study agriculture at Massey University.

During university holidays Hannah was exposed to the horse industry, doing both standard bred and thoroughbred yearling preps.  She found this to be an awesome experience getting to work with some top notch future race horses. She has since been able to follow some of these horses through into the racing industry and see them winning some big races both here and in Australia.

From Massey Hannah began her career with Ravensdown based in Fairlie in South Canterbury. Moving south from Te Awamutu was a massive change for Hannah.  She describes it as an awesome experience to date, and has given her great exposure to a number of different industries, including cropping and deer as well as sheep and beef and dairy on a much larger scale.

Hannah's current role with Ravensdown is as an agri manager, meaning she spends most of her time out in the field soil sampling and completing fertiliser recommendations for farmers. Hannah also does a small amount of agronomy work which adds another angle to her role which she really enjoys. She finds it really rewarding to be able to follow a crop through from start to finish and has expanded her knowledge of seeds and chemicals. The support she receives from everyone within Ravensdown is incredible and one of the reasons why she loves her job so much.

 "It has been awesome to see the effort my parents have put into their farming operation over the years and seeing them be able to expand and diversify this season by purchasing an adjoining dairy farm. With my sister Louise going back to the farm with her husband Thomas, it has been good to see mum and dad being able to step back slightly and enjoy doing a bit more for themselves knowing the farm is in capable hands. One day it would be good to head back a bit closer to home and possibly back to the farm but I am in no rush at the moment."

Although Hannah is a long way from home she is loving the experience of living in such an awesome part of New Zealand. Hannah is adapting well to the varied climate of the south island and has taken on a few new challenges including attempting to ski this winter.

Hannah, It is super cool how your job has not only pushed you outside of your comfort zone, but you have embraced every element of it.All the best when hitting the slopes next winter!

AgWomen Louise Wallace

AgWomen Louise Wallace

Louise Wallace and her sisters were brought up on a Waikato dairy farm, her  parents share-milked until she was 13. Having had enough of Dairy Farming her parents decided to sell up and they purchased the neighbouring dry stock farm.  Although in Louise's younger years she wasn't particularly interested in farming, it was once she went away to boarding school and only came home for the weekends, that she started to appreciate being on farm and driving the machinery.

By the time Louise finished school she knew she wanted to be part of the Ag Industry just unsure of which field.  She blundered her way through university finishing up with an AgCommerce Degree Majoring in Farm Management and Rural Valuation from Massey University in Palmerston North.

Louise was convinced that by the end of her time at Massey she would be destined to be a bank manager in Canterbury.  As fate would have it that never happened, but she managed to land a great job at FarmRight in Otorohanga.  This worked out perfectly as her boyfriend, now husband, Thomas, who she meet at uni, was farming in Te Awamutu.

Louise has now been at FarmRight for six years, where she is a Farm Investment Manager (FIM) Support.  This is a very broad role and covers a lot of areas. Louise has the ability to make the role what she wants and to fit in with her interests, out of the office she is part of a team who are currently overseeing 13 Dairy Farms (57 nation wide). Her main responsibilities include reporting to shareholders on business performance and annual budgets she puts together, coordinating training and social events for the farm staff, and she has a large focus on health and safety and environmental compliance . As well she is part of the FarmRight Conference Committee organising the annual conference which approximately 200 delegates attend.

"One of the best parts of my job is the skills and knowledge I have learnt at work have been translated on to our home farm."

Louise and Thomas have spent the previous four years equity sharemilking 250 cows out of Te Awamutu.  This season her parents had the opportunity to buy the farm they originally share milked on, and the couple were offered the opportunity to go equity contract milking.

"This has been a steep learning curve for everyone with part of the farm being partially converted back into dairy, which had been dairy grazing country, we had to apply for resource consent under Plan Change 1, and it was the first application made to the council. There has also been a lot of learning on how to work with and live right next door to your parents!"

Although Louise is still not convinced that full time farming is for her, she enjoys sunny days out helping out on farm.She finds that being in the industry and through her job she meets a lot of people. She loves sharing her own, and hearing others, ideas and stories and applying them to business whether it is in the office at FarmRight or on her home farm.

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AgWomen Alana Wallace

AgWomen Alana Wallace

Alana Wallace was brought up farming, both Dairy and Sheep and Beef, near Te Awamutu in the Waikato. She comes from a strong farming family, where uncles, aunties and grandparents are all a part of the industry. And as the eldest of three daughters that didn’t deter Alana from wanting go into agriculture either.

After high school Alana knew that she wanted to go into the agriculture sector, but was unsure where exactly.  She headed off to Lincoln University and studied a Bachelor of Science, majoring in plants and horticulture. At that stage she had no desire to move into horticulture.

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Alana spent three summers and a full year working at PGG Wrightson’s Research facility, Kimihia in Lincoln, doing trial work and assisting plant breeders, mainly in the grain division. She then travelled overseas, where the job at Kimihia lead to several summer job opportunities in the UK and Switzerland in between working in central London for 18 months.

After two years overseas, Alana came back to New Zealand knowing that she wanted to get back in to working outdoors. After a year back in New Zealand Alana came into her current role, she didn’t even know what the job was or what it entailed, but on a whim she applied for it and ended up getting it. This was her first taste of Horticulture and staff management, and she is loving it.

"I am part of a nation-wide crop monitoring team within the Technical division of PGG Wrightson/Fruitfed. I coordinate a team of six scouts over two key vege producing areas. My area covers from Pukekohe down to Taupo and Ohakune, including the greater Waikato Region. We monitor all kinds of human consumption vegetable (onions, potatoes, cucumbers) and fruit (avocados, berries, citrus) crops as well as some forage crops for pests and diseases. Training the scouts to be the best in the industry is a key part of my role."

Alana loves knowing that she is contributing to the production of good quality food in New Zealand, which, with urban sprawl, increased exotic pest pressure from overseas and more extreme weather patterns, is making doing so increasingly hard. The increase in biological controls (beneficial insects), and reduction of pesticide use are big drivers of their service, all part of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programme.

"Being a female in a heavily male dominated sector gives an added challenge, but having a strong and supportive boss and colleagues behind me makes the job 10x easier. I am also a Future Intech ambassador, I promote science in Horticulture and Ag to high school students in Auckland. Being able to give students a tiny glimpse into the industry and letting them know what I do and where their food comes from is a fantastic feeling."

Sometimes it pays to put yourself out there and ask questions later!  We love how you have ended up working in the horticulture sector, Alana.  It is fantastic that you are out and about promoting it to our younger generations.

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AgWomen Becky Reith

AgWomen Becky Reith

Becky Reith has just a few more weeks of exams before she graduates with a Bachelor of AgriScience at Massey University and heads to take a graduate role at one of the country’s top plant breeding and research companies, pursuing a field that she had never even heard of growing up.

Leaving Christchurch’s Rangi Ruru Girls' School, Becky was spoilt for choice about her future, including offers to pursue a fine arts degree, but she had her sights set on being a veterinarian, so off to Massey to attend the only vet school in the country. A tough choice for the horse lover who had to leave behind three horses and a place in a dressage young rider training squad. However, when she wasn’t selected to continue into the professional phase of the course, she was faced with trying again or finding another path.

“I ended up taking a few ag papers and really enjoying them so another option presented itself. To be honest, I didn’t really know what an AgriScience degree involved, as my high school didn’t even have agriculture as a subject.”

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However, she is happy with her new path, after accepting a highly-sought after graduate role at AgriSeeds. The 18-month appointment that will explore the many aspects of the pastoral seed industry including plant breeding, agronomic and market support, seed production, and sales. At the end of it all, she has her sights set on being an agronomist.

Although she chose not to pursue fine arts, she has managed to keep it in her life through commissioning artworks from her facebook page Becky-Reith-Art, drawing from her love of horses and experience in agriculture.

All the best in starting your exciting new career, Becky. You certainly have an eye for detail, as is evident in your artworks! We are sure you will be able to find space for a horse or two now that you are out in the workforce.