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FARMAX Accreditation leads to in-depth investigation

Laura Bunning is a farm systems consultant at Water Strategies based in Rangiora. Her role is all about supporting farmers, businesses and local government to protect their land and water and future-proof these assets.

Being a FARMAX Elite Accredited Consultant certainly helps when it comes to getting a holistic picture of each farm and figuring out potential future pathways.

Laura asserts that being Elite Accredited has been hugely beneficial, as it not only deepened her understanding of FARMAX but gave her more confidence.

“It has helped me to get my head around farm systems a bit more. It gives me the confidence that I have worked through some exercises and had it checked through; I’m not just going with gut feeling and actually have some sounding that I have worked through things previously.”

She said the three levels of the accreditation programme were useful as stepping stones and that it was great to build up more of a connection with the Farmax team.

“It was good to build on the basics then work your way through rather than being thrown in the deep end. And to also get a wee bit of exposure to different farm systems and units as you work your way through, rather than sticking with a single farm to do the processes.

“It also allows me to be more in contact with Helpdesk, so I can see where the simple errors are made and do quick checks to ensure the system is feasible.”

Laura uses a myriad of tools in her work, and FARMAX is one piece of the puzzle that gives assurances beyond the environmental aspects which OVERSEER and other tools help with.

“We use it more as a complementary tool to our environmental focus – at the end of the day you must be profitable to make these environmental decisions. Being able to have those discussions and say, this is going to make you more money or isn't going to cost you overall is essential,” says Laura.

Becoming FARMAX accredited has also enabled Laura to build on conversations and relationships with clients, asking more around their overall business to get the best results.

“It has enabled value add conversations and learning…It has helped me question or look at the system more in depth rather than just taking the farmer’s word. Instead of just having information like, we buy X amount of bailage, I can now ask, what do you do? When do you it? And how does that fit into the system?”

Being able to build an understanding with the farmer and present viable options for their farm is the most valuable aspect of FARMAX for Laura.

She knows that agriculture is all about people and relationships, and as an Elite Accredited consultant she can use FARMAX to support their goals and make them a reality.

“Having an understanding in the relationship with your clients about what drives them rather than having your own agenda is a really big thing. Ultimately, you want to benefit their business which enables a better longer-term relationship and makes everyone’s life a whole lot easier.”