The Strength of Your Farm Team

Thoughts from Craig Young, Farmer and Rural Banking Professional

Craig should know – he balances demanding roles in several different teams – as a Senior Rural Corporate Manager at ASB, and as a farmer and shareholder of multiple dairy farms.

Craig milks 400 cows on his home farm on the outskirts of Hamilton in a 50/50 partnership between two families, while also being a shareholder in a 4,500 cow farm in the South Island with 30 staff. With so many people involved in managing the two operations, communication and sharing information to get the whole farm team on the same page is critical.

Agrigate lets me keep my finger on the pulse from a distance, with real-time information on farm activity.

“At home during the spring, I am milking by 5 am and still make it to my ASB job by 8:15 am. During that time we have conversations every day in the cowshed discussing the farm, and have more strategic discussions once a week and a monthly governance meeting.”

Technology plays an important part in creating alignment, which includes video calls with his Southern stakeholders, the use of Xero and Figured to manage the financials, along with a number of other applications tracking farm activity.

Agrigate plays an important role in bringing all the information together into one place – both in his farming world and as a Rural Banking advisor.

Craig leads a team of eight Rural Corporate Bankers, who manage 100 farming groups across the country. Gathering information to understand a customer’s position before a meeting is a key part of preparing for a visit. Having information that extends beyond financials available through Agrigate saves time, or as Craig says, “the beauty of having information at your fingertips is to help make good timely decisions”.

When asked what makes a good Rural Advisor, Craig says “Someone who is prepared, has an agenda and adds some real value to customers. The best meetings are those that are crisp, sharp and on point, with good post-meeting outcomes.” Craig notes, that if he doesn’t have all the farm information he needs before a meeting it can lead to time delays, a missed opportunity and it’s not a good use of everyone’s time.

Craig has learned a lot from his banking and farming experience.

 

Craig should know – he balances demanding roles in several different teams – as a Senior Rural Corporate Manager at ASB, and as a farmer and shareholder of multiple dairy farms.

Craig milks 400 cows on his home farm on the outskirts of Hamilton in a 50/50 partnership between two families, while also being a shareholder in a 4,500 cow farm in the South Island with 30 staff. With so many people involved in managing the two operations, communication and sharing information to get the whole farm team on the same page is critical.

Working towards a common goal with shareholders whose values are aligned are two qualities for long-lasting relationships. The biggest cause of conflict and errors is a lack of communication or mismatch of understanding. “Our home farm borders 25 properties, it is common courtesy to communicate with the neighbours when applying fertiliser or spraying as they may have washing on the line.”

While Craig joked his wife may not think he has a great work/life balance. He says, “I thrive in both worlds. I probably would not have lasted in banking as long as I have without the outlet of farming. I also would not have lasted in farming without the people contact that banking offers.”

We are constantly working to leave the land better for the next generation.