A Milestone for Fiona Calvert, Market Sector Manager - Agriculture | Hill Laboratories - NZ


A Milestone for Fiona Calvert, Market Sector Manager - Agriculture

Date: 9 Feb 2022
Author: Fiona Calvert

"20 years ago, Roger Hill took a risk and employed me as a Client Services Manager for the Agriculture Division. I will be forever grateful to Roger for that decision: for the opportunity to be part of a dynamic company and for the many friendships I have made over that time, with both colleagues and customers. As Market Sector Manager for Agriculture for the last five years, I am tasked with shaping the strategy and direction the soil & plant testing business takes to ensure our customers get the best possible service using the most up-to-date science.

Being part of a highly innovative company is very satisfying and liberating - allowing freedom of thought and activity. Early on, there were unique robotics for soil extraction and more recently the adoption of in-line Near-Infra-Red Spectroscopy (NIR) for measuring soil carbon and nitrogen, which has been very exciting. The earthworm-DNA project discussed elsewhere in this newsletter is another example of that same innovative spirit that Hill Laboratories fosters.

I have been very lucky over the last 20 years to have travelled all over New Zealand, whether for client visits, attendance at conferences or for (15 years) participation in the regional Ballance Farm Environment Awards events.  I have met so many great people working in agribusiness, science and farming – and am very proud of the work everybody is doing for New Zealand’s primary industries. It is a deeply satisfying feeling to be part of the sector and make my own small contribution.

One thing I have noticed is the NZ farmer’s thirst for information and data. This is probably even more evident now, with farmers wanting to be more precise with their nutrient inputs and keen to enhance biodiversity and be environmental stewards. This has seen soil testing numbers grow over the years and more interest shown in pasture & feed quality as well as farm water testing (streams, livestock water and irrigation water). 

After twenty years, I am slowing down a bit and now work Tuesdays to Fridays. There is a bit less travel, but one thing Covid lockdowns have taught us is the value of a good old chat on the phone. I do hope though, that once the pandemic has run its course, I will be able to get out and about to catch up in person again." 

- Fiona Calvert, Market Sector Manager - Agriculture