Nicky Thompson - Farm Focus

Nicky Thompson

Nicky Thompson

Nicky Thompson put in the hard yards before going into partnership with a friend to lease a 124h block, at Spotswood in North Canterbury

Sheep & Beef farmer, North Canterbury

Nicky Thompson put in the hard yards before going into partnership with a friend to lease a 124h block, at Spotswood in North Canterbury. She managed 7000 ewes in her role as Stock Manager on Debbie and Stewart Andersons ‘Black Rock Station, between Cheviot and Culverden.

She also worked as a casual shepherd in the area so has built up the experience needed to take the next step in leasing the Spotswood property. At present the pair run beef cattle and sheep and, with 40h irrigatable, Nicky says they have taken on dairy grazing to keep the cash coming in.

“Being super organised is a must with more than one gig on the go. I wanted to establish good management and reporting systems right from the start so I was keen to see what was available in the rural tech space- what could make a difference on farm and make life easier.”

Nicky’s partner Simon Lee manages nearby ‘Mendip Hills’ Station and she says he was using Cash Manager RURAL. Talking with Simon and local focus groups she knew there was a tried and true farm management package available.

“I heard talk about Cash Manager Focus (now Farm Focus) being the latest, updated version of RURAL, so was interested in giving that a go. My thinking is why settle for the older version when there’s a new version available.”

Having taken the plunge Nicky says Focus is everything she thought it would be and, at this stage, she hasn’t used all the functions the management package delivers!

“It’s been awesome! I talked with the CRS Software team and they suggested Focus would suit my needs, so I signed up for a ‘months free trial’ offer to get my head around the detail. I also took advantage of the free demos on offer and, with the Support Team just a call away, I found my way around pretty quickly.”

Nicky says seeing planning and budgeting figures in black and white is so helpful when managing the invariable up and down periods associated with all farming operations. “We know for example that spring gets skinny with feed money going out but with Focus I can see the long-term plan and know it’s a temporary thing.”

She says basically Focus pays for itself when off-set against accountants fees for doing GST and other budget inputs because she does that herself now – “I feel more in control of what’s happening on and off farm plus have increased confidence when making decisions because I’ve got all the information I need to back myself.

“Knowing exactly where we’re going in black and white has been a great help – little things like using your own code names all add up to the feeling that you’re driving the ship instead of depending on others to help out.”.

Nicky says looking to the future there’ll most likely be more happening on the Spotswood block, so it’ll be essential to work out the finer details around those and know it’s a cost-effective step.

“I’m still learning the ropes but definitely know I’ve made a good decision. You can’t really go wrong with Focus… and if you do make an input mistake you can easily go back and sort it out. The Support Team in Masterton are great and are virtually available 24hrs using their feedback bubbles. They always respond quickly, and I’ve never felt like a nuisance!”