Adrienne and Evan Baigent
Tapawera farmers Adrienne and Evan Baigent moved into dairying over 45 years ago when there were few computers let alone a purpose-built application developed for farmers. They moved their then dairy business to CRS Software (now Farm Focus) in 2012 before switching across to Focus mid last year.
Farm Focus – I haven’t looked back!
Adrienne says that CRS (now Farm Focus) definitely led the pack at that time.
"We looked around at several other applications and settled on CRS because they were as good as anything available in the marketplace.
"I originally operated a 32-column cash book which I wrote up by hand and then balanced and, to put it kindly, reconciling was a nightmare. If only a small amount out, I’d still have to trawl back through every entry until I found the problem and fix it. I still remember the tears reconciling caused!”
She says their farm business has changed over time and CRS has also changed.
“Farm Focus is their latest application, and it meets modern farm practices’ quite specialised requirements. I have to admit I did not enjoy Farm Focus when I first moved across. I was so used to what I knew that I almost resented the new layout…change can be a scary thing!”
But it didn’t take long for Adrienne to adapt and she says Farm Focus is now her best friend.
“I really enjoy the new stream-lined processes – that’s the best bit for me. Enter data once and job done! No more looking for invoices and receipts. Once our information is in the system it’s automatically synced with our bank information which is a real time saver.”
Adrienne currently runs three farm accounts with ease – the wind up of the dairy property and the two life-style blocks - which she says would be a big time commitment without the automated processes Farm Focus delivers.
“Coding is another plus. Our accountant trained me up on coding right back when we first got into dairy and were running a DOS program. She set me on the right path at a time when she was also setting up her practice, so our relationship goes way back.
“With Focus I can choose my own codes and change these if needed – makes so much sense because you know what goes where from the start and it’s much easier to remember your own code names.”
With family involvement in farms becoming more complex Adriene says succession is an important topic that needs to be talked about openly and honestly so everyone is in the know and understands what the future will bring.
“We had it easy really as we have three daughters, none of whom were interested in dairying. We talked about a number of options with them before we sold our dairy farm and at that time neither of us wanted to move into town. As with many other farming people our age, we then went …what now?
‘We ended up purchasing a 45h lifestyle block and built a house on it. The idea of keeping our hand in doing something we still enjoyed, at a slower pace, really appealed. We were not ready to simply stop so we started trading dry-stock and still love it. We also lease a block nearby where one of our daughters and husband now farm in their own right - they are also fans of Focus as a planning tool.
Adrienne says her experience of adapting to Focus differs from her daughters. “I was used to doing things a certain way and the change in process was a challenge right at the start, whereas my daughter had no such expectations and she just flew ahead from day one.
She says a couple of weeks in she was away and relished the change. "Sometimes there’s a big advantage in not knowing another way of doing things!”
Adrienne says she’s pleased with her switch to Farm Focus and couldn’t imagine using anything else. “Going back to the old way would be such a backwards move now.”