Time on the farm gives Josh new perspective

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Working as a dairy manager was a hugely challenging and eye-opening experience,” says Josh. “It was mentally and physically exhausting work, with a vast scope of things one has to understand.

May 6, 2016

Time on the farm gives Josh new perspective

Fresh from two years out in the paddock as a dairy farm manager, Josh Verhoek is now back on the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Science Extension Team.

Based in Fielding, he has taken on the role as Ballance’s Science Extension Officer for the Lower North Island, putting to use his experience and on-farm insights to help local farmers get the most out of their farm nutrients.

“Working as a dairy manager was a hugely challenging and eye-opening experience,” says Josh. “It was mentally and physically exhausting work, with a vast scope of things one has to understand.

“It really puts the demands of farming into reality.”

Now back on the technical side, Josh enjoys working with a range of farmers to maximise the value of the products they use while also introducing the latest developments from Ballance.

His key roles within the Science Extension Team are to lead farm systems knowledge and develop Ballance’s involvement with the sheep and beef farming sector.

“My time as a farm manager has definitely helped me when advising farmers as they know I’ve ‘been in the gumboots’, having lived and breathed what they do, and that’s invaluable perspective you can’t buy.

“We want to give farmers every advantage we can, advising them in ways to increase production through more efficient resource management.”

In experiencing first-hand the many time-consuming demands that farmers face, Josh notes how important it is that they have confidence in an adviser who knows what they deal with and what’s important for them.

“For most farmers working on the land means balancing production and economic priorities with regulatory requirements and a desire to protect the environment,” he says.

“There is sometimes a misconception outside of the agricultural community that farmers aren’t always environmentally conscious and for the vast majority of farmers that’s not true.”

A graduate of Lincoln University’s Agricultural Science and Massey’s Nutrient Management programmes, Josh recognises the challenges farmers face in balancing livelihood with looking after the environment.

“They live and work on the land. Many want to leave their farms to their children, so why would they want to ruin the very thing they rely on most?

“In this role I can help farmers find ways to improve both productivity and sustainability, and that’s something I’m really passionate about.” 


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