Farmer education top priority for new GM
Educating farmers in Asia and South America about using innovation and technology to drive profitability is a priority for Gallagher Animal Management’s new General Manager.
Darrell Jones has propelled himself from the green pastures of the Waikato to the international stage, tasked with growing business for Gallagher in New Zealand, Asia and South America.
Jones has been with Gallagher since 2001, starting out as Territory Manager for the Bay of Plenty and the Waikato.
Jones is a father of two and lives in the Waikato with his wife Charlie. He recently spent more than two weeks traveling around Chile, Paraguay, Brazil and Ecuador, and will spend about three months a year in the market.
He will also be visiting Asia early next year as he continues to search for opportunities for Gallagher to help farmers.
With more than 60 million cattle in South America alone, the potential for Gallagher’s electric fencing and weighing products is enormous. But Jones says the challenge is one of farmer education.
“There is great opportunity for Gallagher to help farmers in South America understand the benefits of using electric fencing for stock control and electronic weighing and tagging systems for their animals.
“They’re essentially just managing mobs of cattle, with most farmers not carrying out full animal recording. They are also buying cheaper, lower quality products which is costing them money in the long run.
“We want to demonstrate to them how they can use weighing technology and electronic tagging to understand average daily weight gains, target mating weights and how this information can help maximise their productivity and production – key drivers for profitability.”
He says Gallagher’s innovation, technology support and people would be the real point of difference in South America.
“As a premium product in the South American market, we want to focus on lifting brand awareness and demonstrating the value of our products to farmers. We also need to give these farmers confidence they will get ongoing support long after they purchase our products.
“The challenge however is the sheer size of the region and getting around all Gallagher’s distributors and sellers to ensure they have the resource to effectively educate farmers.”
Jones believes Gallagher’s Chile-based Business Development Manager Gonzalo Anderson is key to identifying growth opportunities that will enable the business to thrive.
“Gonzalo has an in-depth understanding of the culture, the market, the distributors and resellers. He is also skilled at identifying where the opportunities lie, so I’m really looking forward to achieving great things with him.”
Gallagher is currently working with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise to identify business opportunities in South America. The company will hold its annual distributor conference in Costa Rica next year, using the opportunity to better educate resellers about its products.
“We need to educate farmers about our value proposition. Why would you weigh your animals and why would you use electric fencing? We understand the importance of keeping costs of production down on farm. So, our focus is on leveraging research, development and technology to help them farm as efficiently and productively as possible.”
Jones says the entire Gallagher Group spends about 10 per cent of its revenue each year on research and development – more than double the typical annual spend of a New Zealand manufacturer.
“Our customers are our inspiration and the focus of all our decisions and actions. Our goal is to provide them with the best products, service and profitability, no matter where they are in the world.”