Lisa and Graham Richardson
Wairarapa-based Waitawhiti Station has been in the Richardson family for over 150 years and, while run holders Lisa and Graham Richardson are proud of the iconic property’s history, they are also focused on the future using technology not available to their forebears.
The 2500h property comprises medium to steep hill country with 600h put into forestry, leaving 1400h effective for their 7300 Perendale/Finn/Texel ewes, 400 angus cows plus replacement stock.
Lisa says technology has changed the face of farming over the past decade and, just switching their farm business from the old Cashmanager Rural package to the latest cloud-based Farm Focus application has made a significant difference for the business.
“We switched to Farm Focus a couple of years ago and it’s completely changed the way I work. I now spend half the time I used to spend in the office and achieve twice the outputs!"
Lisa says that although daughter Zoe now works at Farm Focus, she's not being biased with she says there is so much to like about the application!
“I love the invoice scanner! Apart from being able to run a paperless office, there’s no more chasing down bits of paper or matching up a stack of invoices that previously made months end a stressful time."
Lisa says logging in and out of Focus is simple, and she logs in most days to keep their farm business information up to date.
“There are refinements that just make sense such as using my own code names which mean something to me. I code and enter invoices as they come in and then match them up with our bank statements… job done!
"I can also add additional details, such as batch numbers and product expiry dates, onto transaction files where they’re saved for our information. Reporting is an important part of any business and farming is no different. We are required to produce and store business information for initiatives such as the New Zealand Farm Data Code of Practice Standard or the National Animal Information and Tracing Programme (NAIT) and Focus does this for us.
“We’ve just done our audit using information collected in Focus which is stored in the system as required for the next 5-7 years. Having this information at our fingertips is hugely beneficial and this makes Focus another tool that helps us meet our statutory and compliance regulations.”
Lisa says it is a bonus being able to tick a box giving approved suppliers, such as their farm adviser or accountant, access to the couples' business accounts.
“No one has to leave their office to check details and, when we do make a trip to meet with our adviser, he pulls our Farm Focus account up on a big screen so we’re all looking at the same thing in real time. There’s no chance of confusion because we’re looking at the same information.”
Lisa says stock reconciliation is a dream now.
"Stock recs can be completed through the Focus budget page, saving time and duplication. The budgeting tool is far superior, and we can plan well ahead which is an important part of being prepared in a fast-moving industry.”
Lisa says Focus has been fine-tuned since being released because Farm Focus staff listened to and took note of customer feedback.
“I feel farmers are listened to and our input is valued by the company because the company owns the product from the ground up. There were things that I felt needed tweaking when Focus was launched and, because the company has been responsive to feedback, changes have been made which have improved the customer experience."