Advisory Services

Rural Directions Advisory Services have a brand phrase to “Cultivate Thinking”. This is inspired by the fact that we are investors in the land ourselves and seek outcomes through the process of independent advice around land management and environmental management practices, adding value to businesses.

Rural Directions Advisory Services bridges the gap between the science behind the resource and the practicality of farming systems, while operating with 100% independence.

Auckland Council initially engaged Rural Directions for the recruitment of a Farm Business Manager to manage our farming business across our valuable regional parks portfolio. On the completion of this successful recruitment process, council then engaged Rural Directions’ Advisory unit to conduct a formal review of our farming operations.  Part of that review included environmental assessments of our farming in regional parks. As the regulator of environment and water quality outcomes across the Auckland region, council want to ensure we lead with best practise and also act as leaders for our environment.  Through engaging Rural Directions we received excellent and professional high-level, strategic advice; which took into account the importance of tying this strategy into our operational outcomes.  The Farm Environmental Management Plans produced by Rural Directions were delivered on time and to specification.  They provide the type of detailed and robust information that ensures Auckland Council can lead the way in environment and water quality management within our farming operations.  Rural Directions assist us to identify our opportunities and our risk. Auckland Council has land in many sensitive areas across the region and we want to ensure we are at the front of the line when it comes to understanding our resource, in order to manage it responsibly and effectively.

Rod Sheridan – General Manager Community Facilities, Auckland Council

We have Two Certified Senior Land Management Advisors within the business whom have a wealth of knowledge in the space of:

  • Farm Environmental Management Planning
  • Nutrient Budgeting
  • Land Use Project Planning
  • Soil and Herbage Testing and Analysing
  • Soil Mapping

Brent Paterson works in the project management/technical advisory space throughout the sector, he developed the Rural Directions brand 15 years ago and has many connections through many layers in the industry. Brent advisers Auckland Council on their farm business operations and their regional parks and is part of the Auckland Council Future Farms program. He is also on the Hawke’s Bay Future Farms Establishment Working Group and specialises in the development and project management of Catchment Groups, he has recently developed the Mangaone Catchment Group which has 23400 Ha of land and 29 different producers within it getting 100% buy in from producers. Brent has a 600 Ha property in Hawkes Bay where many technologies and systems are deployed to assist in detailed management.

Ian Millner has been with the HB Regional Council for the last 8 years as a Senior Land Management Advisor and has been involved in many projects and leadership forums including; initiation of the Ballance Farm Environmental Awards for the East Coast, working with Beef and Lamb to develop and promote their LEP toolkit, Plan Change 6 policy development and leading the development of nutrient modelling for the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme. He comes with a wealth of knowledge and a vast network of private, local and national service providers throughout the country.

Ian is driven by assisting farmers to connect their land and their businesses. He has a forensic understanding of the technical requirements and how it can meet the practical requirements to drive a prosperous outcome.

Grant Bickley comes to Rural Directions Advisory Services after 9 years under the Ballance Agri-Nutrient brand, working as a Field Consultant and latterly a Merchant Specialist, offering technical extension training to field and sales staff. Previous to this Grant spent time as a Field Technician for NZ Arable – Independent Crop Research and Advice. Grant brings to the business outstanding technical skills and is a Certified Nutrient Management Advisor. He has practiced predominantly in the Northern South Island so has first-hand experience of the challenges (and benefits) of smart land and water management. He has a crusade to ensure farmers get the best independent technical science-related advice and overlay that by deploying best practice systems to ensure their farms are in great shape for future generations.

Emma Doran has a BSc (agriculture) from Massey University and has industry leading experience gained while employed as a Farm technician for a private structured large farming businesses (Lochinver Station and Brownrigg Agriculture) that rely on accurate data collection, analysis, reporting and forecasting. She has an excellent understanding of both the practical farming element and technical systems, and how applying knowledge to these can add value to individual businesses. She is an accredited user of Farmax and is recognised by FarmIQ as among the most accomplished commercial user of their data management system in the country.

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