Based in Fielding, under the AgFirst brand Erica Morrison works all over New Zealand. An Environmental and Ag consultant, Erica can be found doing anything from working with individual farmers, looking at their businesses, how to optimise them, improve their performance and get good systems up and running. Essentially her work involves helping groups of farmers understand issues and help integrate solutions into their systems. It also involves advising central and local government by providing economic analysis and environmental implications of different policies. She is inspired by the variety of work that she gets to do and loves working with people from all different backgrounds and experiences in different parts of New Zealand.
Erica's inspiration to get into the industry was two-fold. Firstly her parents are both passionate about ag, animals and the landscape we live in. The second inspiration was growing up in Wanaka, surrounded by high country farms and a beautiful environment as her backdrop. "I spent a lot of time in the rivers, lakes and the bush and on the high country stations. The land, farming and the people involved in that are harmonious - that’s always been me, so was a natural fit." On the side, Erica is a keen photographer. Being involved in the Massey University Vet Calendar, has meant that she has seen many naked vets over recent times.
Erica attended Mount Aspiring College in Wanaka, and has a Bachelor of Ag Science degree from Massey University in Palmerston North. She was given the opportunity in her third year to do a Masters, so she did this as she had no job lined up. There was a couple of reasons why the project appealed so much to Erica. It was in wool production and was being based in high country, which was something she was quite passionate about. Erica also did as many conservation papers and ecology papers as she could throughout her degree.
A Policy Analyst for MAF (now MPI) was Erica's first job, based in Wellington. Working in the climate change team on ground breaking policy not only for New Zealand but the world. Because of Erica's ag background she was involved in a number of different policy areas from a practical side, giving advice to government on topics such as Animal Welfare and High Country policies. Moving on to a role with Beef and Lamb NZ as an Extension Manager, her policy and science experience and her love of working with people made it a perfect fit. During her first year Erica completed the Kellogg’s programme. Completing a project that was pivotal in giving her clarity around her being in an environmental role, it allowed her to create an Environmental Extension role within B+LNZ on a national scale.
An opportunity to move into a consultancy role came up. AgFirst were keen to set up a Wanganui/Manawatu role and were looking to move into the Environmental space. Their values aligned with Erica’s, so it was a perfect fit to setup an office in Fielding, that also gave her an opportunity to become a shareholder in the business. The move to the Manawatu proved to be lucrative on a personal level with Erica finding love and marrying Will Morrison in 2016. She is now a Morrison Farming Director, focusing on strategy and running their Farmax programme.
You sound like a busy lady Erica. The environmental side of Agriculture is super important and we are lucky to have you around to support and develop this area.