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Leaving a legacy of nurturing talent and supporting farmers

Leaving a legacy of nurturing talent and supporting farmers

Leaving a legacy of nurturing talent and supporting farmers

Forty-seven years ago, Brian McCutcheon followed in his grandfather’s footsteps, choosing to work in agriculture. Having remained loyal to PGG Wrightson (PGW) for the duration of his career, through its evolution of name changes and ownership structures, he remains passionate about the company and its people. “To me, a Monday is like a Friday; I love my job.”

In December, Brian is retiring as Retail Sales Manager – Mid/South Canterbury. Throughout his career, which saw Brian work across the country in a range of roles, his focus has remained on supporting farmers, store teams and the Technical Field Representatives (TFR) in his region.

“When I moved to Canterbury, I had a vision of how we could develop the agronomy space and provide additional value to our farmers. So, I organised for the local TFRs to receive training with the aim of having technically strong people in the field.”

“Nowadays, we have a dedicated technical team comprised of Agronomists, Soil Scientists and Veterinarians who provide advice and education to our store members and TFRs. Having well-trained people who can impart timely advice adds value to farmers’ businesses.”

A driving motivation for Brian is working alongside store team members, helping build pathways for further opportunities. “I get a lot of satisfaction from seeing people grow in their roles. The better I do at supporting them, the more successful they are, which in turn, makes PGG Wrightson more successful.”

Brian shares how his focus on upskilling people has shown results in Mid/South Canterbury. “I recently employed a TFR who was the first person I had employed outside of PGG Wrightson in 16 years. I believe this shows that we’ve either upskilled our people to TFR roles or those previously in the role have returned.”

“Farmers like long-term relationships so I’ve tried to create opportunities for people, as I see this continuity as being important.”

A highlight of his time at PGW was working as a TFR in Taumarunui in the late 1980s. With the 1987 stock market crash taking its toll on farmers, he picked up on the good results from a trial and encouraged farmers to try a new way of managing ring fern in pasture crops. At the time, a paddock sown with pasture would only result in a small portion being grazable. Offering a cost-effective solution using efficient water rates, Brian encouraged farmers to try a new spray combination.

“We were able to take paddocks from 10 to 100 percent grazeable. In a time of extreme difficulty, it was great to be able to help deliver a return on investment and provide farmers with a positive result.”

Brian says, while farming has become more technical and business-focused over time, the fundamentals have not changed nor have the values of being honest, trustworthy, and reliable. As well as encouraging his team to work closely with farmers to understand their operations, he hopes to have helped them in their careers and to achieve the goals they have set for themselves.