Ag consultants’ winning formula

Fitting clients’ farming businesses to meet their personal goals and objectives is proving a winning approach for a newly launched farm consultancy business.

Total Ag rural consultants opened for business late last year after it recognised a gap in the farm advisory sector for consultants who could link finance and farm management, in a way that ensured success across all aspects of their clients’ business and personal lives.

Putting people “in the picture” - Total Ag rural consultants founders Aaron Baker and Rob Macnab.

The consultants have shared similar backgrounds in the banking and fertiliser sectors, having both worked as rural managers for Rabobank, and as fertiliser consultants for Ballance Agrinutrients.

“We both came to be exposed to a wide variety of farm types across many different locations in New Zealand. We decided we wanted to take the client contact we had there to the next level, offering an independent consultancy service that combined the skills and experience we had accrued,” says Rob.

The consultants wanted to offer advice that helped farmers achieve success at every level and included the needs of all family members in it.

“There can be a tendency for consultants to draw on their particular area of expertise, whether farm management, or finance, and we prefer to put our clients at the centre of the business, recognising this is a relationship over time. It’s not a race to get the best out of all the resources they have at hand, including land, stock, staff, capital and time to arrive at an enjoyable and rewarding outcome.”

Since commencing, the consultancy has grown to take on three additional consultants, Heather Gilbert in Waikato at Te Pahu, Kathryne Easton in Northland and David Gray in the Hawke’s Bay.

Heather and Kathryne are both Massey graduates, Heather with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Agriculture and Kathryne with a Bachelor of Agriculture.

Kathryne also spent 12 years working for Ballance. She also worked as a land management advisor for Northland Regional Council and Fonterra in nutrient management and runs her own beef block in Northland.

Heather has worked with Landcorp and has worked closely with young farmers kick starting their careers through the SOEs Future Farmer programme.

Total Ag’s most recent appointment is David Gray. While based in Hawke’s Bay, David is building a portfolio of dairying clients through the upper North Island who are seeking help managing farm budgets through a tough period in the industry.

His experience as a share milker and rural manager with Rabobank and Heartland mean he is well placed to help clients minimise their losses and adjust farm budgets to meet their obligations under a tight pay-out.

“It is a stressful time for many clients, and many know they need to make some changes but that’s hard to do under pressure. I am working to help them re-assess reset goals that are achievable over the coming years.”

Rob Macnab says Total Ag is well positioned to help dry stock farmers make the most of the industry’s opportunities after some lean years, while also bringing experience and understanding to help dairy farmers dealing with a stressful period.

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