Hi I’m James Thomas, and I am from the Waikato. I live on a dairy farm just out of Morrinsville.
I was born and bred on a dairy farm. I’ve a Bachelor of Agriculture at Massey University and worked as a sharemilker for six seasons on the family farm before becoming the farm owner. Since then, I’ve tutored for Dairy NZ from 1999 to 2006 and I've been full-time with FarmWise since 2007.
What do I like to do away from work?
Outside of work, I'm lucky enough to have a grandson who lives on the farm now. He's only 19 months old, so he takes up a bit of our time. We’ve been season members of the Chiefs since 2012, and when we can, we go to our batch at Cook’s Beach for a spot fishing and diving.
What do I like being part of the FarmWise team?
I always describe being a FarmWise consultant as a privilege. You’re invited into someone's home and business. Over the years, I've seen clients’ kids grow up and grandchildren arrive. It’s a great privilege. You’re not quite a member of the family, but you are a trusted partner. Sometimes you've got to deal with some stress or some strain, whether that's financial or even mental, but it’s still great to be a member of the team.
Every farm has different needs and quite often when I get a phone call, my first question is “how can I help?” Sometimes clients need a sounding board. Other times it’s being a go-between between staff and owners, it can be 101 different things.
And just as every farm is different, every farm has a slightly different system. Much of my time is spent listening to my clients goals and objectives. Then taking time to think and question. Do you think it's more effective if we do this? Is it more efficient if we do that? Sometimes it's simply providing peace of mind that all the bases are covered. Fundamental stuff; cows and grass, staffing and HR, planning for the future.
I enjoy working for FarmWise because although we work autonomously in our day to day, as a team we get together as a national group twice a year and as regional groups. Often, one of the consultants will put a call through and say, “hey, I’m keen on some feedback on this idea”. It's good to have that backup from the group and there's a good camaraderie there and they've got your backs, because everybody's trying to do the same thing – help farmers. That team approach really makes FarmWise special, not just for us but for our clients too.
Bachelor of Agriculture, Massey University.
Sustainable Nutrient Management, Massey University.
Member of NZIPIM.
Certified BCS Assessor.
Dairy farming for more than 20 years.
Agricultural Tutor (Levels 2, 3, 4, 5) in rural Waikato for six years.