Rhea Nelis

Job: Economic Service Manager     Area: Northern North Island

The Economic Service Manager

Brief introduction about yourself:

Born and bred on a dairy farm in the Mighty Waikato. Although I loved the farm I never set on to get an agriculture related degree or career. I am in fact a qualified Chartered Accountant with a Bachelor of Management Studies majoring in Accounting. The love of the industry decided my latest career move, to work for Beef + Lamb New Zealand, as close to the action as I could be.

What is your typical day like?
My role is really divided into two typical days – one of those is out in the field visiting survey farmers, sitting down with them and refelcting on the year that has been. We reflect on on-farm and financial performance; talking about results on lambing percentage to meat yield to fertilizer spreading to labour units and more. The other day is in the office; processing farm information, collating information for report presentation or forecasting projected farm performance for the sheep and beef farmers. Most reports we create can be found on our website http://www.beeflambnz.com/information/.

How did you get to where you are now?
A great attitude got me this role. With no qualified experience in agriculture or economics I thought my chances of getting my current role were slim, but I couldn’t not apply! As I review financial statements my accounting knowledge certainly comes in handy. Having been raised on the farm also helped me relate well to farmers that I deal with on a regular basis. The rest is hard work and a willingness to learn.

What do you love most about your job? 
I love working with my survey farmers. They are lovely, down-to-earth people with a wealth of knowledge and great attitudes. I also love contributing to the industry. I can see how what I do feeds into the industry and efforts of the organization.

What skills do you need to do your job well?
You need to be statistical, have attention to detail, and be able to relate well to farmers – having great relationships is key to the success of this role because it is only through these conversations with farmers that you get the real story about what is happening on farm.

Work & Travel:
I am quite lucky with this role. I survey farms from Kaitaia to Ruapehu so this role is perfect for taking those windy roads to the most beautiful reaches of our country.  

What advice would you give to young people?
Mark Twain said “I’m concerned about the future because that is where I’m going to spend the rest of my life”. That is the genesis of what I do. We track sheep and beef farm performance and forecast future performance, providing credible information and analysis, to support better decision making by our farmers.
Check out the reports on our website to see if these are analyses that you would love to create and build.
If you love numbers and you love getting out of the office with a great work-life balance, this role is perfect for you.

What are your goals for the future?
My goals – I have many! I would love to do the Kellog’s leadership course one day as well as do my Directorship so I can sit  on the board of inspiring organisations. I still want to own a farm so I am also working towards that. No doubt I will always be connected to the agriculture industry in one way or another throughout my life.

Back to The Real World

How did I get here:

School - NCEA: General Science, Biology, Accounting, Economics, Calculus and Computer Science

University: Bachelor of Management Studies majoring in Accounting (University of Waikato) Chartered accountancy (NZICA)