Although new to the Federated Farmers field officer team, I have a better handle than most on the challenges farmers face daily.
I may live in Christchurch now, but as a young man I followed my father into a stock agent career and farmed near Waiau from 1988 to 2000.
However, I have learned a lot since taking on this role in mid-January. There are a huge number of benefits and services available to members, but as someone who worked outdoors all my life, the biggest challenge has been turning my computer on daily.
There is a constant flow of information sitting in my inbox and keeping on top of it all is not as simple as it sounds.
Aside from the inevitable office work I have been visiting my territory. It covers from north of the Waimakariri River to Marlborough, Nelson, Golden Bay and the West Coast, so getting to everyone is a huge undertaking.
However, visits around Eyrewell and Oxford got me up to speed with the out-in-the-field aspects of the job. Recently I have been further afield.
I have enjoyed returning to Culverden, Waiau, Rotherham and Hanmer Springs. I have also been busy visiting the Chevoit A& P Show, Ward and the Mendip Hills. The Federated Farmers Goats and Mohair NZ Conference is another great opportunity to visit Marlborough.
I'm now off to Golden Bay. Having spoken to many from this area over a particularly difficult summer, it will be a privilege to meet them and discuss how the Federation could help them further.
I will also be attending A&P shows in each province, so if you see a bloke in a Federated Farmers hat, come on over and say "hi".