Morgan Inness - Perrin Ag Consultant

New consultant takes coaching approach to helping farmers

Perrin Ag’s newest agribusiness consultant is taking a coaching approach to his role, as he hangs up his footy boots to work alongside farmers and help their businesses thrive.

Morgan Inness (26) grew up on a lifestyle block just north of Whanganui. After school, he took a gap year as a teacher in England before completing an Honours degree in Agricultural Science from Lincoln University.

Morgan’s talent for rugby then took him to Russia, where he played the sport professionally, followed by a stint at semi-professional level in Scotland. It was during his time in Scotland that he started working as an agricultural consultant. More recently, Morgan played rugby back home for Hawke’s Bay.

One thing his sporting career has taught him is that success happens when there’s a genuine partnership between people.

“With farming, it’s no different,” he says. “We can figure things out together and bounce ideas off each other. That’s why I think ‘coaching’ is a powerful way to describe what I do.”

While Morgan’s official title at Perrin Ag is “Consultant”, he sees himself as more of a coach. From his time in rugby, he knows that the people who matter most are the ones on the field making things happen. He believes the coach’s job is to guide and mentor.

“In the past, a farm consultant was expected to know all the answers. And back then, they should have known, because farming had largely remained the same for 10 to 20 years. But now, there’s so much rapid change and it’s all new to consultants and farmers alike. My first job is listening, then coaching.”

Such an approach may well prove the difference as pressure mounts within our primary industries. While Covid-19 has changed the landscape for everyone, farmers must also contend with a raft of new environmental regulations and public perception pressures. Morgan understands the implications for mental health are real.

“I get it. Being forced to change can be daunting. Many farmers are struggling. Some will tell you what they’re battling with straight away and how they need help, but many won’t. My job is to listen and understand why they do certain things. If I’m going to be useful to them, I have to start there.”

By his own admission, Morgan is something of a hybrid. On the one hand, he loves the land, but he also has a fascination with the business side of farming.

“I’ve obviously done a fair bit of practical work growing up. I was always outdoors, either on the farm or hunting and fishing somewhere. Even during school holidays, if I wasn’t working at home, I found jobs on other farms in the area.

“But what I really enjoy is the in-depth side of farming. What really drives me is helping someone achieve their goals within their farming business. That’s what gets me out of bed in the morning.”

Feed conversion efficiency is a specific area of expertise for Morgan and was the topic of his university dissertation. It’s also a hot topic in New Zealand’s agricultural sector as we look for ways to produce more from less.

Having worked in the UK, Morgan has an understanding of intensive livestock systems where arable crops are used to feed sheep and beef livestock.

“I realised that this type of intensification doesn’t make a positive difference to farmers’ bottom lines. I’m pretty proud of the commitment New Zealand farmers have to using pasture-based systems.”

In learning about maximising crop yield, Morgan has come full circle. Lucerne was part of his dissertation study and a crop familiar to the wider Perrin Ag team.

“I’ve got a good handle on how lucerne grows and how it needs to be managed and grazed. There is a fair bit of lucerne around, which is good, but it must be treated differently to a normal rye grass pasture.”

Morgan is adamant lucerne has a crucial role to play in the future of New Zealand farming.

“Lucerne is pretty hardy. It has a tap root which can often reach depths of 2 meters plus, which is important. As our climate gets drier, farmers are looking for pastures they can use to finish lambs or beef animals. A crop like lucerne is perfect because it’s one of the best drought-tolerant feeds around that you can get good liveweight gains on.”

For every farmer, the harsh reality is that change will continue to come. Like many industries, agriculture is in a state of flux, which demands high levels of business agility. That’s not easy, but it’s where Morgan performs best.

“I think the key is looking for opportunities within the changes. My role is to be at the forefront of any regulatory or scientific shift, so I can break it down for farmers. Then we can work out a plan together to make those changes work for them.”



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.”

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.”