About | Agrista

About

Agrista is the next step. 

 

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John Francis

I was fortunate to grow up the son of a stock and station agent. I have fond memories of lassoing cattle in the old Wagga timber saleyards with my brother during the school holidays and pushing up sheep during dad’s client visits.  Between visits we would stop on one of the little-used back roads around Galore.  Dad would fire up the gas burner with griddle plate and serve steak sandwiches with some of the best country views on offer.

At that stage, I saw the freedom of working outside of an office and the ability to help farmers as two things that appealed to me in a job. I went on to fail agricultural economics at university, learn some operational skills as a jackaroo in the Riverina and Northern Territory, work in our family business, complete an agricultural science degree at university and land my dream job at the time as a district agronomist.

After several years of working as an agronomist it struck me that I was providing investment advice to farm managers, but to that point, I had expertise only in assessing the production responses. In a quest to acquire financial skills I moved into farm business management consultancy where I learned the value of integrating science and production knowledge with financial management skills. The key to a better understanding of farm management was unlocked to me at that point.

I have also learned the value of annually assessing farm financial and production performance and taking an evidence based approach to problem solving. I am passionate about solving problems in agriculture.  I know that I am unlikely to ever be out of work because the biological nature of agriculture means that there will always be another challenge. In fact, I think it is this dynamic feature of the industry that keeps a lot of us motivated and inspired regardless of the frustration it causes us at times.

While I didn’t realise it at the time, each change in my direction was a career stepping-stone and each has helped me to build knowledge and skills and shape my views on an inspirational industry. Let’s face it – our industry has purpose in feeding and clothing the world. I look forward to new learnings, new business relationships and I hope I have the opportunity to work and engage with you along the way.

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John and Prue Francis | Agrista
Above: Prue and John Francis

Prue Francis 

I grew up in the beautiful Bylong Valley in NSW on a cattle and horse stud. In it's heyday, the property ran a breeding herd of 750 cows plus up to 1000 head of trading cattle and sold 60 to 70 bulls each year at an annual on-property production sale. At the time, it was an isolated place to live due to access with one dirt road leading in and out of the valley. 

My father managed the property for over 20 years.  For most of that time it was a thriving business with its own small community of 8 families and 2 or 3 Jackaroos who arrived annually to complete a year of farm experience.  There was always action and jobs to be completed.  We helped with the mustering, show and sale preparation, moving irrigation pipes, feeding stock and loading hay. I saw first-hand the importance of being able to communicate with a range of people and how that particular skill can make life easier (or harder) in buinsess. I am grateful for that solid and stable start.  

At University I majored in Communication and afterwards I headed to Sydney to work in consulting and the wine industry.  

Once married, we headed west and later to southern NSW.  My professional life during this time was anything but orderly, rather it became vast and varied with experience gained in advertising, graphic design, marketing, events, human resources and administration.  

I genuinely enjoy people and building relationships.  I am naturally inclined towards developing and maintaining communication channels with our clients.  My role at Agrista is to organise and support events and workshops as well as managing our administration, social media output and website content.