Having spent years share milking and contract milking, Diane Heinz decided to take her experience and give back to North Otago farmers, taking up the TSR life 15 years ago and she hasn’t looked back.
As the Technical Sales Rep (TSR) at Farm Source Oamaru for the past three years, Diane considers North Otago the "best place to farm in the South Island", saying it’s "a great environment for growing grass and making milk".
Though it’s a very dry region, there is an irrigation scheme running down the Waitaki River and supplied by six lakes.
"As long as the dams are generating power for the rest of the country, we have a continuous water supply," she says.
And when not on the farm, she adds that water supply makes for great fishing, boating and camping.
Reflecting on her work as a TSR looking after 140 farmers, Diane says she enjoys going out to meet new people and watch as families grow with new generations coming through.
While her length of time in the position has given Diane plenty of knowledge and experience to call on, she loves learning new things and passing that onto farmers as she works to help them reach their goals – about which she shares a recent experience.
"Working with a farmer and he asked if I could come with a plan for some changes he could use for the coming season, we had a discussion group with some vendors and peers on the farm. We came up with a plan he could use, providing info and advice and supplying the seed and chemicals and looking after the crops."
Diane considers those vendor representatives to be very important to the business, saying TSR’s can pick their brains if help is needed out in the field.
And there are challenges that come with the role, but these come from a place of Diane wanting to add the best value to farmers.
There may not be the opportunity as she has to "balance needs and wants with finance".
But to that point, Diane credits her team at Farm Source Oamaru – Paul, Kirstin, Jess, Stacey and Terri-Ann – who are working hard to lower farm costs and add value to clients.
"We want to make sure everyone who walks into our store feels that they are important and valued.
"You me us together tatou tatou."
For those farmers, Diane says March will be a "bit of a quiet time", and the focus will be on forward planning, early bird mag c, winter dry off drench and, up and coming season planning meetings".
At home, the farm-talk continues for Diane as her husband and two sons are also involved in farming.
Outside of it all, she enjoys hand crafts, gardening and of course camping in the region she loves.