Lindsay Youngman still describes no day as the same after six and a half years as TSR at Otautau.
Across the Western Southland area, Lindsay looks after 132 farmers as well as 20 sheep/beef farmers. There’s plenty to keep him busy, but he enjoys getting out to visit the farms, helping with different challenges and keeping them all up to date with the latest trends.
To the job, he brings experience from 12.5 years as a PGG Wrightson Store Manager, and 8.5 years with Elders New Zealand Ltd.
This month, his main focus will be making sure his farmers are ready for calving.
Recently, Lindsay was able to explain to a farmer why rubberware needed to be replaced in a dairy shed and assist in finding the right chemical for winter weed spraying.
Providing his farmers with the right information at the right time is what Lindsay prides himself on. "It's rewarding to be able to help - I have a lot of experience to draw on and I like being able to offer advice when it's needed."
Helping to back him up are the vendor reps, and he gives a recent example of how they used crop demonstration sites to show results of sowing at different rates and row spacing.
As well as having vendor reps on hand, Lindsay says another benefit of Farm Source is the Farm Source Reward Dollars that help suppliers’ farm budgets.
Reflecting on his time as TSR, Lindsay says the most significant change he’s seen is around operating with increased awareness of environmental impacts.
With Environment Southland introducing new rules, farmers know if they don’t get their practices up to scratch, they will face fines.
The environment is a topic Lindsay is familiar with as he is an active player in conservation work with the likes of the Department of Conservation (DOC) and Fish & Game New Zealand.
With that, it’s no surprise he names the rivers and lakes of Fiordland National Park as unique features of his region.
Stopping him from getting out to see his region was the COVID-19 lockdown, which also saw Lindsay alter the way he worked.
While he was able to get out to do activities like check pastures, there was a challenge in not being able to meet with the farmers when doing so.
“It’s not the same consulting with farmers over the phone, it’s better face to face,” he says, but his farmers coped really well. He’s since enjoyed being back out on the road to catch up with them.
In recent weeks, Lindsay’s seen a few farmers take a break with a New Zealand-based holiday – some are seeing regions for the first time despite having travelled the world.
Lindsay too has taken some time to get in some hunting, which he couldn’t do during lockdown.
His interest in hunting has led him to be the President of the Western Southland Deerstalkers’ Association branch. Alongside it, he enjoys fishing and duck shooting, and is also a rugby referee – but admits these days he “can only keep up with the schoolboys”.
Helping to keep him feeling younger are his two grandchildren, who are about to be joined by a third.