At 70-odd years young, Neil Gamble says his field consultant role with CRV Ambreed is the only real job he’s ever had.
He has loved his job, especially 20 years of helping local dairy farmers increase the value of their herds, now retirement has come and he’s imparting his breeding expertise as a CRV rep for the last time.
Neil left school at 15 and went straight into contracting on-farm. By 1967 he was leasing a small family dairy farm, adding two more neighbouring farms to the unit over the years, and contracting to a local tractor company during some downtime. He finally sold the farm and took a commissioned consulting role with CRV Ambreed in 1997.
“I never officially had a full-time job until working with CRV Ambreed. In 2009, the Otago/Southland consultants all got moved from contracting roles into permanent positions, and it was a huge laugh that I finally landed my first job at 64 years old,” he recalls.
He started as a breeding consultant just south of Dunedin and eventually took on the broader region from Oamaru to below Balclutha.
In recent years he has worked all over the South Island as a “locum” filling in when the team needs some extra hands.
Last year he became the regional sales and services manager for the Lower South Island.
“I owe a debt of gratitude to CRV Ambreed for giving me the opportunity to work all over the South Island,” he says.
“The one constant wherever I have worked is the wonderful clients – without exception they have been really genuine, hardworking people. It’s been a real honour working with them, and they have all gone out of their way to welcome me to their farm,” he adds.
Neil says the business of herd improvement has changed a lot in 20 years and it has been exciting to see the new innovations and technology coming through.
“We [CRV Ambreed] started with a small catalogue of bulls and pretty much stuck with that. Today farmers working with CRV Ambreed have access to a huge selection of bulls, as well as herd testing, herd recording, AI service, DNA testing, A2 milk testing, and raft of other stuff to support dairy farming,” he explains.
“CRV Ambreed also has the back-up and expertise from Holland, which is a huge advantage for farmers to leverage off.”
He’s admired and always been inspired by the passion of his colleagues which has kept him going all of this time and motivated him to be a better consultant.
“I would’ve retired years ago if CRV didn’t have that sort of passion. It runs right throughout the company. Everyone is willing to work 24/7 for their farming clients, because they’re so passionate about what they do. That’s unique in a business today.
“CRV is also a very caring company as far as staff are concerned. If something happens, the amount of support you have around you is unbelievable. That takes all of your worries away and means a lot,” he says.
CRV Oceania sales and marketing manager Mathew Macfie says Neil has provided a dedicated service to his clients for 21 years and he will be missed immensely by the team.
The feeling is mutual as Neil says he’ll miss his workmates, especially the reps in the South Island.
“The consultants are a pleasure to work with and very knowledgeable with a very high level of experience. I can walk away now and feel really comfortable that my clients will be in great hands,” he says.