Growing up on a dairy farm, Helen France followed a natural path to a job in the Agricultural industry. Her parents were sharemilkers and her Mum also worked as a nurse. Helen grew up with 3 siblings, an older brother and a younger brother and sister that are twins. They all helped out on the farm as much as they could. While her friends went to each others in the weekend, Helen would go straight home so she could hose the yard or feed the calves. Helen went to boarding school at St Matthews in Masterton and was lucky to be able to take Ag classes there.
She didn't think of herself as a science person through school but Ag science at Massey University seemed logical to Helen. First year university was pretty tough for Helen as she had to do physics and chemistry, so she was glad in second year when theory began to turn into more practical and Ag based learning. Here Helen found real interest in the science behind soils and the interaction with everything above it such as plants and animals. Over summer she worked on a couple of dairy farms and a sheep and beef farm 'beetham pastural' in the Wairarapa where she enjoyed learning practical skills.
Helen works for Ravensdown as a Agri Manager to help provide solutions and services to enable smarter farming in New Zealand Agriculture. Helen started out in the Graduate programme for Ravensdown and spent 6 months learning the ins and outs. A lot of people don't always use or do what they did at Uni but in her case, it set her up very well. Helen loves the way farming connects from the ground up and this is how the path into Ravensdown appealed to her. Although, she enjoyed the soil papers at Uni, Helen didn't want to solely focus on one aspect of farming and Ravensdown enables her to provide a greater variety of technologies and services to farmers.
"Once I started at Ravensdown, I was lucky to move around quite a bit and gain experience. After the first 6 months, I took up a role based out of Rakaia for a bit and then went down to Balclutha. I would have never imagined living down South but am grateful for the time that I did, because the South Island sure has some great scenery. It was also really good to be able to be immersed in different farming systems from intensive cropping to traditional sheep farms. Now back near my home turf, it is awesome to be close to family and friends and be able to settle a bit so I can really make a career for myself in a role that I enjoy and hope that I can really help the farmers around me."
Go Helen! You sound like you have worked hard to get where you are today and you are helping those in the industry around you. Good on you girl!