Christine Christensen (nee Lindsay) describes herself as an all around general agriculturalist; a researcher, a farmer, a leader, and an advocate. Growing up on a sheep and deer farm in Central Southland, she always had an active interest in the farm and rural sector.
Originally Christine wanted to be a rural vet, so attended Massey University upon leaving school. However, after being unsuccessful at the vet gig she embarked on a Bachelor of Applied Science majoring in Agriculture. Leading to a 1st class Honours degree. Her research project focussing on finishing lambs on summer crops.
A job as Technical Sales Agronomist for Cropmark Seeds followed, covering the Lower North Island. After two years Christine's passion for research resumed, and she returned to Massey University in late 2008 as an employee in the soils group. There she completed her PhD in soil science, working on reducing nitrogen leaching from grazing dairy cows, and have had a large input into sustainable nutrient management courses which many AgWomen (and men) have completed.
"I am involved in research because as an agriculturalist, it is really important to me that science is the basis for policy, and that policy isn’t built on emotion with little fact. Also, I’m a ‘farm systems’ person – the science has to be real, relevant and available for farmers to adopt."
While at university Christine met James, who has since become her husband and father of their 2 boys, Maximus (almost 3) and Stirling (8 months). Christine currently works for Massey on a part-time basis, from home, while she focuses first and foremost on being a mum. The couple are
determined to raise their children with strong rural values.
In early 2008 Christine, and husband James, purchased their first farm of 120ha of hill country in the Pohangina Valley (Manawatu), and while both working in other jobs, they have slowly built up stock numbers, reduced debt levels and completed some development work. They run Angus cows and their progeny to 2 year olds, and a small flock of ewes. The couple are
now looking to purchase more land to be able to raise their family in the country and further challenge themselves as responsible food producers.
Since leaving school, Christine has been heavily involved in New Zealand Young Farmers at many levels. A member of Massey, then Fitzherbert clubs in the Manawatu until she ‘aged out’, holding several positions. Christine was also Regional Administrator then Chairman of the Taranaki/Manawatu region, and was elected on to the national board of NZYF in 2013. She has also been a 4-time regional finalist in the Young Farmer of the Year. She is now involved in the contest through Massey University as a sponsor, and also as part of a panel for editing questions for regional and grand finals.
"Young Farmers has been a fantastic way of meeting people and gaining skills, and I act as an advisory to clubs and members, actively encouraging young people to become members and get involved. I am also co-opted to the Western North Island Farmer Council for Beef + Lamb New Zealand, and enjoy having input into setting direction for relevant extension activities in our region. Outside of agriculture, I’m a qualified teacher and judge of Highland and National Dancing – a lifelong passion that may or may not be carried on by my boys!
Research and Policy are crucial in helping move the agriculture industry forward. Christine, you are a super practical agwomen, as well as a super intelligent one.