Jemma Mulvihill wears a few different hats depending on what day of the week it is. She is Managing Director for Agri Optics NZ Ltd, where her role is to arm New Zealand farmers with the best tools and technologies to help run their businesses more effectively and sustainably. Jemma is also a new mum, a part time sheep and beef farmer with her husband and I’m also involved on the Steering Group for their local Kakahu Catchment Group. Whatever she does, Jemma is pretty passionate about agriculture, efficiency and the environment.
Jemma has been in the primary industries all her life. She grew up on an intensive cropping farm in Mid Canterbury, went to Lincoln and studied Agricultural Science, studied agriculture in the USA for a year and then started Agri Optics at the end of her Ag Science degree. She always loved the outdoors and being on the farm - going to check the crops, shift irrigators, doing the tractor work – and never really had any thoughts about doing anything else. Being involved in the Ag industry was just the natural fit. When Jemma left uni and set up Agri Optics with her parents it was a bit daunting, but they believed in what they were doing.
"We could see that Precision Ag tools and technologies were making a real difference – both financially and environmentally - on my parents cropping farm and thought that New Zealand farmers could really benefit by having access to the same technologies as well as having some support here in New Zealand for implementing it on farm. Ever since we started the company just over 8 years ago we’ve been working with farmers throughout New Zealand to help them farm smarter. And I love it. I love seeing the look on their face when the penny drops and they realise that it actually does work. I love seeing the difference it makes on farm both financially and environmentally. I love being a part of something that makes a real difference. I love being a part of producing food in a sustainable way. And I love that what we do applies to the whole spectrum of farming – organic to highly intensive, dairy to horticulture, irrigated to dryland. Farmers are a pretty cool bunch to work with and it’s cool to see all the neat things that they’re doing around the country."
Correct! Farmers really are a cool bunch of people. Jemma, not only are you impacting the people around by the work you do in your business but you are spreading enthusiasm with your positivity for the industry.