Ballance has a team of experts covering the entire country
Claire has always had an eye on sustainability, graduating from Victoria University with a Bachelor of Science Majoring in Geography and Environmental Studies, she then went on to do a Post Graduate Diploma in Commerce Majoring in Public Policy with a special interest in Environmental Policies. Last year Claire travelled to America to complete an Executive program ‘Implementing Strategy for Competitive Advantage’ at The Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania.
Claire started with Ballance in 2014 in our sales team where she worked in various capacities, previously the Regional Sales Manager for the Eastern Region, where her passion for developing people and developing the region has helped shape high performance, and deep connections with local farmers in the region. Recognised as a leader in the industry in 2015, when she was nominated for Farmax Emerging Rural Professional of the Year.
Farm Sustainability is a real passion of Claire’s, whether coaching nutrient specialists to support farmers make smarter decisions through their fertiliser programmes or her involvement in the local BOP Ballance Farm Environment Awards as a finalist Judge and as part of the committee. Claire is looking forward to engaging in her new capacity with a wide range of Government Bodies, Regional Councils and Industry Stakeholders.
When Claire is not working, she enjoys walking her two German Short Haired Pointers Bain and Mikka as well as playing social sports Netball and Volleyball.
Andrew Sanders joined Ballance as a Nutrient Specialist in the Rotorua district in May 2004, and was promoted to the position of Area Sales Manager in April 2008. After another promotion Andrew became the North Island Regional Sales Manager, and is now the National Sales Manager.
Prior to joining Ballance, Andrew ran an agricultural contracting business in the central North Island. A native of Yorkshire, England, Andrew grew up in a small farming village and says his choice of career was influenced by his grandparents, who had an arable farm nearby.
After graduating with a Diploma in Agriculture, Andrew specialised in pigs and cereals, progressing through the ranks to Assistant Manager of a 550-sow breeding unit and 500-hectare arable farm.
Jessica has been with Ballance since January 2004, initially working as a Nutrient Specialist in the Southland region before being promoted to the Key Accounts position in 2011. She has completed a Bachelor of Science through Otago University, and followed this up with a Graduate Diploma in Applied Science (Agriculture) from Lincoln University, as well as being a Certified Nutrient Management Advisor.
She grew up on the family 325-hectare sheep farm in Southland, and regularly spends time back on the farm helping out, which enables her to hone her practical farming skills. Jessica has been involved in the rural community through a number of roles with the likes of Young Farmers, Young Professionals, Dairy Women’s Network Conference Committee and the Monitor Farm Advisory Board. She also helps with mentoring fellow Nutrient Specialists and has taken on the challenge of secondments into management roles within the company.
Andrew Rutherford is the Key Accounts Nutrient Specialist for the Central Plateau, and has worked in the agriculture industry for 20 years. He spent seven years with PGG Wrightson Ltd working up through the ranks from a trainee in the Central Plateau to Branch Manager in Katikati, before joining Ballance in March 2002. A promotion to Key Accounts Nutrient Specialist followed in April 2008 - a role in which Andrew enjoys building strong business relationships, and having a positive influence on his customers farming operations through providing quality advice.
Having grown up on his family’s 225-hectare sheep and beef farm in the southern Hawke’s Bays, Andrew has a thorough and practical appreciation of farming. He has combined this experience with the learnings gained through his time at both PGG Wrightson and Ballance to develop a broad knowledge of the agricultural sector.
He has also gained accreditation as a Certified Nutrient Management Advisor, and has spent a number of years as the Judges Coordinator for the Ahuwhenua Trophy Competition. This has extended his network within both Maori farming and the farming industry as a whole.
After graduating from Massey University with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science, majoring in farm management and valuation, Grahame joined the Rural Bank in Taranaki. In a varied career, Grahame has held a number of roles with different organisations across the North Island including: client relationship management, farm consultancy and leadership of teams.
Grahame has a passion for coaching others to be effective and achieving their goals and brings a wealth of coaching and commercial acumen to the sales team.
Grahame also holds a Post graduate Diploma in Business and Administration endorsed in Human Resource Management and a Diploma in Business in Property Management.
When not working Grahame enjoys a range of activities including endurance events, coaching children’s football and following a range of sports.
Courtney completed her B Com in Agriculture via correspondence whilst holding down a full time job working for Farmlands - this meant the need to be very time focused and planned. A year after completing her B Com Courtney joined Ballance in 2013, progressing through to Key Accounts starting in December 2016.
Both the Intermediate and Advanced Sustainable Nutrient management courses have been completed allowing the submission of papers to obtain accreditation as a Certified Nutrient Management Advisor. Courtney has also sat the Women in Leadership course run by Agri Womens Development Trust.
Courtney is also a part of the Sheep and Beef strategy team that was set up in 2016 at Ballance. This team play an important role in helping Ballance understand how we help our customers meet future needs and ensure our sales team receive the right training.
Harriet Howden started her career with Ballance in September 2010 as a sales consultant for Summit Quinphos in the Manawatu/Rangitikei.
A change in teams in 2013 saw Harriet become the Business Extension Specialist for the Rangitikei/ Wanganui. In June 2014 Harriet was promoted to the Business Extension Area Sales Manager role for the Lower North Island. This role allowed her the opportunity to build a great team and develop her coaching skills. After another promotion in September 2015, Harriet has become the Regional Sales Manager for the Western Lower North Island.
Harriet grew up on a 700ha sheep and beef property on Banks Peninsula. Prior to Ballance, Harriet studied at Lincoln University completing a Bachelor of Agricultural Science with First Class Honours.
In her free time, Harriet enjoys getting out on the farm, water skiing and spending time with friends and family.
Tom McDonald joined Ballance in January 2015 after 10 years working for a Rural Supplies Merchant, specialising in Agronomy and Animal Health.
Tom is passionate about sustainability and conservation tillage and enjoys many of the technical aspects of the role (and is very passionate about Integrated Pest Management in particular).
When it comes to free time, he can be found in his orchard or somewhere in the great outdoors pursuing deer or those ever so cunning fish (that seem to be getting smarter by the year).
Scott Beckett is the National Horticulture and Arable Business Manager.
Scott joined balance in 2012 as the Horticulture Specialist for the Pukekohe region where he quickly gained valuable insights into the unique complexity of the region. Scott’s passion for Horticulture stemmed long before joining Balance Agri-nutrients. He commenced his work experience in his homeland of Zimbabwe before moving to the United States to further his education. Scott has a Bachelor of Crop Science and a Bachelor of Soil Science from Oregon State University.
Whilst studying in the states, Scott was managing businesses in both Horticulture and Floriculture – and even became fluent in Spanish!
Scott made the decision to follow in the footsteps of some of his family that were already calling NZ home and moved over here and continued his horticultural career.
With a background in banking and some 15 plus years in the agricultural and horticultural sectors both here and in South Africa, Garth is here to help with advice about nutrient management. He has gained experience both practically and in the classroom, and has a passion for helping others and loves to see farmers succeed.
Garth joined Ballance in August 2015, initially based in the Morrinsville North area. He moved a bit further south in March 2016 to take over the Te Awamutu East territory, before changing islands entirely in November 2016 to take up his current role as Regional Sales Manager Otago.
Having lived here since 2008 and an avid rugby fan (yes he supports the right team) he and his family have found it very easy to settle in to the New Zealand way of life. When not throwing a line into water, you can find him on the road hauling himself over the hills on his bicycle.
Louise has always had an affinity with New Zealand’s agricultural sector after growing up on a Sheep and Beef farm in Central Otago’s Maniototo.
After completing a Bachelor of Science at the University of Otago Louise was enticed to the warmer climate of Australia where she worked for 8 years as a Project Environmental Manager in Mining and Construction.
Thankfully she met a good kiwi bloke who brought her back to New Zealand and the agricultural sector, Louise and husband Gerald are based on a High Country property in remote South Canterbury.
Louise joined Ballance in 2016 and has loved every minute of helping farmers understand their environmental footprint and making sense of complex regulations as a Farm Sustainability Specialist and more recently as the South Island Team Leader.
When she’s not at work or busy on the farm you can usually find Louise on a high octane adventure co-piloting a plane or jet boat into the back blocks.
Ian Ross joined Ballance in March 2018 bringing with him experience from a number of previously held leadership roles.
Originally from Northern Ireland, Ian completed his secondary schooling in NZ and went on to Massey University where he completed a Bachelor of Agriculture.
Ian’s early career involved agronomy and grain manager roles prior to a period working in rural banking, where he held a number of senior leadership roles. Recently, that change in career direction involved Ian leading sales teams in the corporate segment of primary industry training.
With a focus on the primary sector, Ian has experience across Dairy, Meat, Arable and Finance disciplines. He brings to this role a passion for customer service and the development of people.
Outside work, Ian has a keen interest in salt and freshwater fishing, boating, game bird shooting and golf.