Nerissa and Luke Thompson and their family (Maya 7, Henry 5 and Ella 3) run around 300 red deer on their 150h block at Summerhill, near Cust in North Canterbury.
The couple have been living overseas for the past 16 years and purchased the block 10 years ago while they were away. Nerissa says they always intended coming home and returning in February this year was perfect timing in so many ways.
While away Nerissa and Luke wondered what they would do on their block and, while both had farming in their background, they looked at lots of options before finally settling on running deer.
“Once that decision was made, we talked to our accountant about a financial management package. One that would help us see where we were at on a weekly basis, and where we were heading.”
Nerissa also talked to other farmers in their community and Cash Manager Focus was the name often mentioned. “I attended an Agri Women’s course and was advised to wait for the new Focus package to come online – using Focus meant we would be on-board with the latest technology from the start.”
She says she did wonder what she’d got herself into.
“I booked in with the Customer Support Team for an introductory lesson and they were amazing. After an hour and a half of tuition I had to say that’s it – I had the basics covered and felt I could learn from there as I went along.
“Focus is definitely user friendly – I love it and have never felt overwhelmed. If I do have a crisis of confidence, I can rely on the fact the package is intuitive so I can’t go far wrong.”
Nerissa says having their accountant linked into the system has proved a big advantage. “He can jump in and add info or find detail without us having to leave the farm. And, by using the invoice scanner, all our invoices and receipts are there loaded in the system when we want them. No more searching for bits of paper when you can least spare the time!”
Nerissa says she loved Focus right from the start. “Because so much is automated. I can pop into the office after dinner and spend 20 minutes, job done! Luke is visual so he finds it easy to see where things are at.
“This is our first season deer farming and we’re learning so much about grass production and baleage and everything in between! We feel Focus has helped us with the basics so in two years we’ll be even better at what we do!
“Farming is a complete lifestyle instead of just a job. We look back at our spread sheet now and see there’s been so much going on and here we are …we’re doing okay.”
And, if you’re wondering what attracted this couple to spend 16 years overseas – it was rugby. Luke played professionally in Japan for Sanyo and Kintetsu and made appearances in four World Cup tournaments in France, New Zealand, Britain and Japan.
Last year he was part of the ‘Brave Blossoms’ – the Japanese national side who stole hearts around the world after beating Scotland, in the final pool game in Yokohama, despite the destructive Typhoon Hagibis wreaking havoc days before the match.