After seven years with Farm Source, Tony Maas jumped at the chance to take on a Technical Sales Role 12 months ago. The role enables him to work even more closely with his farmers adding tangible value to their businesses.
"I’m enjoying working with our farmers, creating value. Ultimately they are the owners of our business so having the opportunity to help improve milk production through cropping and pasture efficiencies is great," Tony says.
Tony looks after 65 Fonterra Suppliers in the Rangitikei, Ruapehu and Wanganui districts – many of whom know him well from his time on the shop floor.
"I’m still new in my role but my experience in the company over the past seven years means I’ve built up their trust. During my time as the Marton store manager we went through regional flooding, droughts, and low payouts together," says Tony.
There’s no doubt the community is a close-knit and supportive one. Under Tony’s watch from 2016 to 2018 the Marton Farm Source store, in conjunction with their farmers, raised over $46,000 for local schools, through their annual auction and dinner event.
Going above and beyond for his customers is second nature for Tony.
"I was out the other day checking a maize crop for harvesting on a farmer’s run-off. His heifers were standing at the fence bellowing at me. I was talking on the phone to the customer about the maize and offered to move his break fence for him. It saved him travelling to the run-off for the next few days," he says.
With a background in silage and hay contracting, Tony has a good understanding of cropping and pasture management and a highlight of the TSR role is getting to grow crops with his farmers. Tony says Farm Source are uniquely positioned to help their farmers succeed with growing grass and crops.
"We are a co-op, our role is to assist in lowering on-farm costs, improving performance and increasing outputs for our farmers. We need our crops and pastures to perform to enable our farmers to produce as much premium quality milk as possible," he says.
This month he’ll be helping keep crops and new grass free of weeds and pests and like most is hoping for more rain after a particularly dry summer. March milk production was much lower than the same period last year for North Island dairy farmers.
Tony says the unpredictability and variation of the weather is one of the main challenges of the job.
"There are no more ‘normal’ seasons and there can be extreme variation in climates. It can be sunny in one of my regions and snowing in the other," he says.
The specialist know-how of vendor reps is a great resource to have available when the situation calls for it.
"They are a great asset to help build our knowledge in their areas of expertise. And another source of trusted advice for our customers."
In his spare time Tony enjoys skiing, fishing and looking after his 40-acre hobby farm which he has beef cattle on.
Tony is married to Alisha, a teacher at Nga Tawa Diocesan School, and is dad to six year old Georgiana and four year old Charlotte.