Rob Brazendale - Senior Consultant Perrin Ag

Key appointment strengthens Perrin Ag’s presence in the Lower North Island

Experienced dairy industry professional Rob Brazendale has joined Perrin Ag as the firm looks to strengthen its support of farmers and growers in the Lower North Island.

With over 30 years in the agricultural sector, Rob knows how to navigate farmers through the regulatory maze. As Perrin Ag’s newest senior consultant based in Palmerston North, he is in a unique position to help farmers more than ever.

“I’ve been in agriculture a long time and my work has been varied: farm advisory work, farm management research, rural banking, and dairy farm systems development. I also run a lamb and beef finishing operation in the Manawatu. So, I have a good understanding of farming, from milking cows and shearing sheep to the regulatory process in Wellington,” Rob explains.

“I enjoy working one-on-one with farmers, but I’m more useful in a role where I can help shape the policies that affect farmers throughout the country. That’s what I’m looking to do with Perrin Ag.”

Rob joined Perrin Ag from DairyNZ where he was regional leader for the Lower North Island. He was aware of the work Perrin Ag was doing, and the broader services the firm was offering farmers and growers. He sensed his agricultural knowledge and experience could be fuller utilised within the Perrin Ag team.

“Two things made working with Perrin Ag attractive to me. First, it has a large, multi-disciplined team. That’s hugely valuable in terms of creating opportunities to collaborate with a group of people who have a wide body of knowledge. I also felt I could make more of a difference to farmers by working with a great line-up of people like that.

“Bigger teams tend to pitch for bigger work, like projects from government agencies and NGOs. That’s policy level stuff, which is where I believe my 30 years of experience in diverse roles can help shape things.

“The Government wants to implement changes for the good of the environment and our country. I know some of the people at that level – I’ve worked with them before – and they really are toiling with good intentions. The challenge they face is understanding how their policies impact the wider farming system.

“Here’s an example. When a government ecologist looks at a freshwater situation, they’re seeing the issue almost exclusively through that ecological lens. Which makes sense. What they often don’t see are the domino effects their proposed changes could have beyond the immediate freshwater issue. That’s what frustrates farmers – when well-meaning policies are unworkable or make farming less competitive.

“Part of my job is to bridge the gap between these worlds – to bring the on-farm perspective into the policy-making room, and vice versa. If that can be done, the environment can be respected, and farming can be sustain its profitability. New Zealand needs both.”

Perrin Ag Managing Director Lee Matheson values Rob’s successful track record in senior leadership, along with his exceptional technical knowledge and communication skills.

“Rob will be instrumental in helping us grow our business in the Rangitikei, Manawatu and Hawke’s Bay, so farmers and growers in those regions can reach their full potential,” he says.

“He will also be an asset to our firm as a mentor to our growing team of rural professionals and as someone with strong banking and industry connections.”

Rob’s track record and experience will be important as Perrin Ag competes for Government and NGO projects. While he acknowledges that other successful players are pitching for the same work, Rob believes Perrin Ag has an advantage in Wellington.

“When Government people are given pitch proposals, they’re now asking, “What does this mean on the farm?” That’s a good question and some of our competitors struggle to respond with real-world answers.

“Maybe they’re an economic research company that specialises in desktop analysis. They’re good at sourcing data and forming conclusions, but they’re unable to consider the implications of those conclusions on the ground. How could they? They’ve never farmed. Many don’t even know farmers.

“That’s where my strengths lie. I know the world of data and research and finances, and I know farming systems inside out. Farming is more than just desktop numbers and tidy conclusions. Perrin Ag understands this, which is valuable to the agricultural policy makers.”

Rob has clear ideas on the challenges that are on the horizon for New Zealand farmers.

“The next thing that’s coming is the change in focus from animal welfare to animal care. Animal welfare is about helping livestock when things go wrong. Animal care is making sure we have the systems to prevent things going wrong in the first place.

“Lamb docking is a good example. Farmers used to dock to a much shorter length, but that led to problems – the sun would bake the exposed nether regions and flies had easy access. Now farmers are required to dock at 3-4cm. That simple change makes it easier for the animal to protect itself.

“After care will come animal comfort. That involves things like providing adequate shade and shelter. Some farmers are already making it a priority, which is important given the increasing weight it’s carrying with consumers. They want to know the backstory behind their food choices, which they can get simply by scanning a barcode. Every farm’s processes and the quality of each animal’s life will come under more scrutiny in the future.

“It’s an ever-changing world for our farmers. It’s not easy. But we can help coach them through the maze. That’s my job. It’s why I joined the Perrin Ag team.”



Lee Matheson

Managing Director
Principal Consultant

B.Appl.Sc (Hons), FNZIPIM (Reg)

Lee came to agribusiness consultancy via the unlikely pathway of a suburban Wellington upbringing, an Honours degree in plant science and a six-year career in the financial markets. In his role as the firm’s MD, Lee doesn’t get out on-farm as much as he used to but makes the most of it when he does. While having swapped the paddock for the boardroom, Lee continues to provide advice in the areas of farm business strategy, farm system innovation, corporate governance, investment analysis and economic research.

Outside of Perrin Ag, Lee loves to spend his time coaching rugby, watching his three kids play sport and gardening with his wife Haidee.

“I love the challenge of empowering people in our primary sectors and the excitement of seeing clients achieving their aspirations. If we can encourage farmers to engage with their consumers, take a more active involvement in their supply chains and view their businesses through a wider lens, then I think our industries have a great future.”

Michael Booth

Senior Consultant

B.Com Af (FM)

Mike brings a wealth of agri-tech and dairy systems expertise to Perrin Ag. After graduating with a Bachelor of AgriCommerce from Massey, he started his career with DairyNZ as a consulting officer where he ran discussion groups and managed farm supervision.

He left DairyNZ to travel the world but within a few months Covid hit, the borders closed, and Mike and his wife Nikita returned home. Back in New Zealand, he took up a role managing DairyNZ’s monitor farms on the Hauraki Plains before joining Halter.

After finishing his OE, he returned home to live in Papamoa and joined the Perrin Ag team in February 2024.

“I’m not someone who likes to sit still and I like to be continually learning. I saw an opportunity with Perrin Ag. As a business their ethos is about continuous improvement and learning. There are always new and better ways of doing things and we need to be at the forefront of that for our clients.”

Abbey Dowd

Consultant

B.Ag.Sc (Hons), MNZIPIM

Abbey joined Perrin Ag in February 2023 as part of the firm’s graduate recruitment programme, Empower.

Abbey grew up surrounded by dairy farms in a close-knit community in South Waikato. She saw first-hand how local farmers supported her community, which is what inspired her to study at Lincoln University.

Growing up in a rural community Abbey has always been impressed by how much local farmers contribute to the community. She wanted to help give back to the industry and play a part in helping our primary sector continue to produce quality food in a sustainable way.

In 2022, Abbey spent the summer as an intern on one of New Zealand’s first commercial deer milking operations. Her Honours project was researching deer milk alongside other more traditional milking operations and assessing the deer milking industry’s future production possibilities.

“Growing up I didn’t live on a farm, but I always knew I wanted to work in the farming sector. I wanted a role where there was a balance between working on and off farm and where I could support farmers to get the best out of their businesses.”

Sam Gray

Consultant

Sam grew up on a dairy farm in the Far North. After graduating from the University of Otago in 2005 with an Honours degree in molecular biotechnology, he spent several years working in medical research in New Zealand and Scotland. Upon returning to New Zealand in 2012, he spent four seasons dairy farming in Northland before purchasing a 56 ha block in Taupо̄, where he was first exposed to farming under a nitrogen cap. Sam joined Perrin Ag in 2023 and brings his strong analytical skills that are grounded by a pragmatic approach to problem solving. Outside of farming and consultancy, you’ll likely find him fly fishing, hunting or snowboarding.

“A lot of farmers feel overwhelmed in the face of a rapidly changing regulatory landscape. I strive to help farmers understand what these environmental regulations mean for their business, and offer practical solutions that allow them to keep doing what they do best, whilst remaining compliant”.

Danni Armstrong

Finance administrator

Danni grew up on a life style block in Atiamuri and spent five seasons as a relief milker in the area. During this time, her full time roles were in various fields including the rental car, health care and marine industries. Danni has had a focus on administrative and accounting duties, but is also proficient in looking after customers especially well, social media and website operation, running a rental car fleet and the associated tasks like training, rosters, H&S and organising repairs! Danni joined Perrin Ag in May 2021, to be part of a business in an industry she is passionate about.

During her spare time Danni can be found reading a book with her cats or out enjoying the walks in Rotorua’s Redwoods.

“What motivates me each day is knowing that I will be challenged with a range of problem solving tasks. I love to see all the figures adding up and knowing that my role makes a difference to the team.”

Duncan Walker

Director
Principal Consultant

B.Appl.Sc, MNZIPIM (Reg)

Coming from a drystock and dairy farming background, Duncan has always been passionate about growing primary sector businesses. Whether it’s pastoral farming, forestry, horticulture or investments outside the farm gate, sustainably optimising business performance is Duncan’s passion. After graduating from Massey University with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Agribusiness, Duncan’s first opportunity to optimise a farm business was by undertaking a dairy conversion. Duncan project managed the conversion and continued to run the dairy farm for a further three years.

Since joining Perrin Ag in 2011 Duncan works with a wide range of clients including those ‘outside the farm gate’. With his strong background in investment analysis, business strategy and project management, Duncan is increasingly working with clients to analyse and integrate horticulture and forestry investments into their farm businesses.

“I enjoy helping clients navigate through the complexities of today’s operational, financial and environmental challenges. Seeing clients achieve their goals is very rewarding”

Lee Matheson

Managing Director
Principal Consultant

B.Appl.Sc (Hons), FNZIPIM (Reg)

Lee came to agribusiness consultancy via the unlikely pathway of a suburban Wellington upbringing, an Honours degree in plant science and a six-year career in the financial markets. In his role as the firm’s MD, Lee doesn’t get out on-farm as much as he used to but makes the most of it when he does. While having swapped the paddock for the boardroom, Lee continues to provide advice in the areas of farm business strategy, farm system innovation, corporate governance, investment analysis and economic research.

Outside of Perrin Ag, Lee loves to spend his time coaching rugby, watching his three kids play sport and gardening with his wife Haidee.

“I love the challenge of empowering people in our primary sectors and the excitement of seeing clients achieving their aspirations.  If we can encourage farmers to engage with their consumers, take a more active involvement in their supply chains and view their businesses through a wider lens, then I think our industries have a great future.”