Our People

Ballance has a team of experts covering the entire country

Sara Elmes
Farm Sustainability Services
Farm Sustainability Services Senior Specialist

Sara was born and bred in rural Hawkes Bay, gaining dairy, sheep, beef and deer experience throughout her early years. A passion for the sheep and beef industry led her to study a BSc and MSc in Animal Science and Agriculture at Massey University, with her primary Masters research investigating the on farm factors that may affect lamb growth, carcass characteristics and meat quality.
Having a drive to move south, Sara moved to Otago to work for AgResearch in the Animal Genomics field team, conducting research in the sheep, beef and deer industries.
Sara joined Ballance in April 2016 as a nutrient specialist to work alongside farmers to add value and drive farm profitability. Sara is now a senior farm sustainability specialist in Otago/Southland and looks forward to working with farmers and industry to overcome environmental challenges and to farm sustainably for future generations. Outside of work she is involved in the rural community through the Young Farmers club and enjoys a range of outdoor activities including mountain biking, skiing and hunting. 

Nadine Tomlinson
Farm Sustainability Services
Farm Sustainability Services Specialist

Nadine grew up on a sheep and cropping farm in South Otago where she developed a love of farming. This lead to completing a Bachelor in Agriculture at Lincoln University. After a period of travel, she returned to New Zealand to take up a role as a Nutrient Specialist for Ballance Agri – Nutrients in Eastern Southland for 2 years and then South Canterbury for 2 years.

Nadine and her husband then took up the opportunity to go farming in East Otago where they now live with their two boys. They run an intensive irrigated farm, finishing lambs and bull beef. Nadine enjoys working part time as a Farm Sustainability Specialist. She loves maintaining this role in conjunction with farming as they both complement each other very well. 

Christina Finlayson
Farm Sustainability Services
Farm Sustainability Regional Manager - North Island

Growing up on a fifth-generation dairy farm in Matamata, Christina kindled her passion for farming communities and the environments they steward. With a love of ballet and classical music, Christina wasn’t the conventional farmer’s daughter - shifting to Auckland to study a Bachelor of Science in Environmental & Biological Sciences.

It was here however (after a few too many debates with her permaculture-preferring peers) that she realised her desire to help those communities she’d grown up with navigate the new opportunity of Farming Within Limits.

Christina joined Ballance in 2015 and is the North Island Team Leader of Farm Sustainability Services. Between developing her team, engaging industry groups, and preparing Farm Environment Plans – Christina loves the diversity her role provides. She is also completing her Masters of Environmental Management through Massey University.

Prior to Ballance, Christina worked for several years at Plant & Food Research in Havelock North, conducting nutrient management research trials on fodder, arable, and vegetable crops. Although she misses the lifestyle of Hawke’s Bay (aka. the locally produced food and wine), she can’t complain about being based in Mount Maunganui!

Jess Shailer
Farm Sustainability Services
Farm Sustainability Services Specialist

Jess grew up on a Dairy Farm in Feilding, choosing to do a Bachelor of Science at Massey. Her passion has always been for working with animals so she used every Uni break to work on sheep and beef studs.

Leaving Massey Jess started her working career with Agresearch as part of the plant breeding team, before venturing on an unconventional OE, travelling and teaching in Europe. Returning to NZ Jess began work with Plant and Food Research as part of the bio-protection team before joining Ballance in August 2017. After spending most of her time in research, she is excited to work as part of the Balance team helping our farmers come to grips with Farming within Limits.

On weekend’s Jess can usually be found up a mountain skiing or in some white water in her kayak.

Rebecca Howe
Farm Sustainability Services
Farm Sustainability Services Specialist

Growing up in urban England, Rebecca never imagined a career in agriculture let alone New Zealand. After finishing her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Management at Kingston upon Thames in London Rebecca was lured to the Land of the Long White Cloud and has never looked back.


Since arriving in New Zealand in December 2014 Rebecca has learnt a great deal about the Canterbury farming systems. Keen to get stuck in and not afraid of getting her hands dirty Rebecca worked on a Mid Canterbury potato farm along with working for South Pacific Seeds. Rebecca joined the Ballance Farm Sustainability Services team in July 2016 and is now one of our Farm Sustainability Services Senior Specialists.


Rebecca is always keen for a challenge and enjoys pushing herself to learn and achieve new things. She is a passionate believer in sustainability and relishes the opportunity to help farmers continue to farm for generations to come.

 

Julie Lambie
Farm Sustainability Services
Farm Sustainability Services Senior Specialist

As a Certified Nutrient Management Advisor Julie loves helping farmers with the pains of growing environmental regulations. Julie takes great pride in assisting farmers through completing nutrient budgets and farm environmental plans to help them understand the positive effects of following Good Management practice on both their farming system and Environmental Sustainability.

Growing up on an Arable property on the coast of Mid Canterbury and working on a dairy farm as a Lincoln student Julie has always had an excellent grasp on farming systems and been passionate about all things agri.

Julie joined the Ballance Farm Sustainability Services team in July 2015 after completing a Bachelor of Environmental Management and Planning from Lincoln University.

Julie loves to get out and about in her spare time and enjoy the great outdoors as well as helping out on her parent’s property and taking part in the activities of the Pendarves Young Farmers Club.

Jessica Hollever
Farm Sustainability Services
Farm Sustainability Services Senior Specialist

Jessica has always been connected to the agricultural industry after growing up on a dairy farm on the plains of North Otago and South Canterbury, although she loves the land and agriculture she got enough dairy experience growing up to know to not fall in love with a dairy farmer.

While at University of Otago, Jessica had a summer internship at Environment Canterbury in their water quality team. After graduating in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science, Jessica travelled to parts of Canada and America.

With some travelling under her belt, it was time to return home and find a job she could be passionate about. Since joining Ballance in September 2016, she has returned to her roots in the agricultural industry and loves providing support to farmers, and helping them to farm within limits due to the ever increasing regulations.

Lisa Adams
Farm Sustainability Services
Farm Sustainability Services Specialist

Lisa has always had an affinity for the agricultural industry after growing up on a Sheep and Beef Farm in the King Country, Waikato.

This passion lead her to Lincoln University to complete a Bachelor of Science (First Class Honours) in Animal Science and Agricultural Science. Her honours project focused on the oestrogenic effects in sheep grazing Lucerne. At university, she met a dairy farmer from the Bay of Plenty and together they have set up home in Mid-Canterbury. Although she refuses to milk cows, she enjoys the farming lifestyle and being involved in their business as they progress through the dairy ranks.

Lisa started at Ballance in July 2017, after working at Fonterra in a customer-focused role. She enjoys working in farm sustainability and helping farmers navigate the challenges that Farming Within Limits present so they can continue to farm for many generations.

Outside of work, Lisa can either be found in the kitchen, exploring the South Island or getting out and about in the outdoors usually with her dog Bo and occasionally also with her farmer -  if she can get him to leave the farm for long enough.

Erica Leadley
Farm Sustainability Services
Farm Sustainability Regional Manager - South Island

Erica lives, breathes and loves everything arable farming. Her passion for the industry and its success, has fostered from growing up in Mid Canterbury on her family’s intense spray irrigated and lamb finishing business. Now living on her partner’s South Canterbury arable property Erica remains very in touch with the pressures of farming businesses.

Driven from a need to understand and report her home farms environmental footprint Erica stepped back from her day to day on farm involvement to upskill in the nutrient management space. This led her to joining the Farm Sustainability team in September 2017. Erica enjoys engaging with farmers, using her practical farm systems knowledge to provide a quality service.

Out of work Erica is never far from a cook book and is planning her next food creation. She loves spending time cooking for and entertaining family and friends. Her love to travel, also ties in quite nicely with her love of food with trips to Italy and Vietnam to gain new skills. Erica will also take up any opportunity she can to be out on the farm, especially doing her part over harvest.

Olivia Petrie
Farm Sustainability Services
Farm Sustainability Services Specialist
Reina Tamepo
Farm Sustainability Services
Farm Sustainability Services Senior Spec
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