Sarah Perriam’s passion is in marketing premium produce and changing the perception of farmers to passionate food producers. This makes her the perfect woman to co-host the Rural Exchange radio show on RadioLIVE.
Having lived on high country properties in both Dunedin near Outram and Central Otago in the Nevis Valley near Cromwell. Sarah started her primary industry journey like many of our countries top woman have with the privilege of being raised on a sheep & beef farm. Her family's farming history in the Cromwell basin goes back to 1857 to the original Perriam’s that migrated from England and were gold miners, hotel owners, orchardists and sheep farmers at the family farm at Lowburn. Her uncle John Perriam also farm’s nearby at Bendigo Station, near Tarras.
Her childhood memories preparing lunches for musterers/shearers with her mother who she says “is one tough cookie, she’s great with horse, dogs and all stock in general” are still vivid. Memories of her heading out on horseback mustering & helping in the woolshed are still something talked about today. Her parents experienced the tough years of farming and and her father also worked hard wool classing for extra money.
Sarah grew up around inspiring big thinkers and learnt a lot from people like her Uncle John. His foresight into adding value to our commodity products with the establishment on NZ Merino and the relationship with Loro Piana in Italy was truly inspiring. Her Aunty Heather was also an inspiring business woman in the wool industry. She set up Suprino a high end wool brand and of course the wonderful Merino Shop at Tarras that everyone knows today. Having spent time in her early 20s working alongside her cousin Christina Perriam, a fashion designer, Sarah learnt so much about the importance of a brand and adding value by ensuring quality and unique storytelling.
Back at boarding school she was never encouraged into a career in agriculture. She believes she kind of just 'fell' into it. There was an ‘apprenticeship in networking & marketing’ with Bayleys marketing rural properties where she won the National Country Marketing Award at 21 years old and then a stint running the ionic small country pub known as the Luggate Hotel. It was here where she met her former partner Tony Glynn. He was up to so many exciting things producing TV programmes for Country TV so she took the leap into self-employment with him. She describes them as 5 enjoyable years spent travelling into some of the NZ’s remote valleys meeting, filming & staying with beautiful inspiring farming families. It was over this time that she learnt so much about the efforts farmers go too to produce a premium grass fed ethical product and the challenges they face with regulation & commodity prices. It was while specialising their reporting on animal genetics where she learnt about the importance of communicating science to farmers effectively.
She believes the best channel to target farmers was through video so they could easily implement on farm. Sarah recalls knocking on MediaWorks door in Auckland for years to convince them they needed better and more rural media on mainstream channels not only to help with knowledge extension but for the perception of farmers to the general public.
The turning point for her arrived in July 2017 when she was approached to co-host a new rural brand on RadioLIVE, Rural Exchange (REX), broadcasted out of Auckland with Richard Loe & Hamish McKay. She describes it as “truly my dream job, having not been in front of the spotlight more in the producing/directing role I feel that it's the next step up to make a real difference in all the missions I want to see change in”.
The coolest element of the whole position to Sarah is that MediaWorks has recognised the need to portray and communicate the role females play in agribusiness. She hopes to represent well with educated journalism and with her passion is in marketing premium produce we believe she is on the right track to changing the perception of farmers to passionate food producers. Keep up the great work girl, your passion and voice is truly contagious, making you a strong willed Ag Woman.