What happens when a linesman and a nurse change professions and become rural spray contractors?

In this case, you end up with a culture of safety and health that more than holds its own against a wide range of other businesses. And that includes companies focused on children, beauty, retail, fitness, hospitality, accommodation, forestry and manufacturing.

Chance and Rochelle Campbell from Northland Vegetation Control didn’t set out to win the workplace safety category of the 2023 Northland Business Excellence Awards. But they’re very proud to have done so, and to have had the chance to showcase their industry in such a positive way.

“Everyone who enters the awards has to fill out a safety and health section as part the application process,” Rochelle says. “But we weren’t specifically targeting that – we entered because we thought it would be good for us to look at all aspects of the business from the outside in and see where we could improve.

“Actually winning the award on the night was a big surprise!”

The pair, who have three young children, bought NVC in 2018 and joined Nufarm Accredited Contractors last year.

Having diversified to include a wide range of tree planting and maintenance contracts as well as weed control, they now field a full time team of 10, including themselves, with up to eight further casual staff in the winter months when planting trees.

Spraying is largely Northland-based, from the Brynderwyn Hills to Cape Reinga. The tree work, managed by Chance’s brother Trale, stretches as far afield as Levin, Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay.

Nufarm is an integral part of the business, both in terms of product and support. “It’s been really good forming a relationship with one supplier; it’s made everything flow better in our yard. They back their products 100% and we’re really impressed with the support and guidance we get from Joe Heng. He’s a mine of knowledge.”

The Rural Contractors NZ network, which Nufarm supports, has also benefitted them personally and professionally. “We didn’t get to the conferences for a start, because of Covid. But when we did, it was really cool to meet and chat with other contractors from around the country and learn from them.

“It’s great to see the effort Nufarm puts into supporting rural contractors in NZ. Sometimes as spray contractors, you’re not really seen as a ‘professional’, you’re just someone who sprays weeds. When you see Nufarm putting resources into the industry, it makes you feel more valued.”

Health and safety has been a priority for Chance and Rochelle from the get-go, not just because of their own experience of it in their previous careers, but for the good of their team, and the business as a whole.

Award judges described their processes and procedures as ‘exemplary’, and noted their one-on-one training to upskill workers on risks around chemicals, transport, planting equipment, machinery and working in remote environments. Rochelle says it’s a collaborative effort that tries to address all areas of team well-being, including social and family considerations.

“When they come into the industry, our people know they’re going to be dealing with chemicals, they know they’re going to be driving on rough terrain – we talk about those risks when we interview them, and make sure they have the training they need to work safely.”

Physical well-being is monitored through regular blood testing, testing for chemical exposure.

“But we’re also aware that when they go away on spraying or planting jobs, for instance, they might be without internet for up to a week at a time, so we have a portable Starlink to help them stay connected to family and friends.”

Likewise a pool table and darts board are part of the fit out at head office, and there’s almost always a Friday night social catch-up for everyone involved. Rochelle says entering the Northland Business Awards was an opportunity well worth seizing.

“As a contractor, you’re so busy, you never have time to work on the business, as opposed to working in it. Going through the application process has been great for us. We’ve started working with a business advisor, and we’ve learned so much.”

Would she encourage other contractors to enter similar events? “Yes, 100%!”

About Northland Vegetation Control

Northland Vegetation Control Ltd is a Spraying and Planting company owned and operated by Chance and Rochelle Campbell and is based out of Hikurangi, Northland. Chance has been in the Spraying industry for 10 years and took over the ownership of Northland Vegetation Control in January 2018.

If you have any questions or want to enquire about a job you think we could help you with then please get in touch [email protected] or give Chance a call on 021732240.

www.northlandvegetation.co.nz

North Island

Paul Greenbank

Territory Manager
Hawkes Bay & Wairarapa

Mobile:   0274 425  835
Email: [email protected]

 

Joe Heng

Territory Manager
Northland & Auckland

Celese Smit

Territory Manager
Hauraki, Coromandel, East Waikato, Bay of Plenty & Gisborne

Jason Marriott

Territory Manager
West Waikato & King Country

Richard Bell

Territory Manager
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Patrick Bissett

Territory Manager
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Mobile:   0277 000 066
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Mike Cox

South Island Sales & Territory Manager
North Otago & South Canterbury

Mobile:   0274 354  271
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Jeff Hurst

Territory Manager
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Mobile:   0277 008 011
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Michael Bennet

Territory Manager
Otago & Southland

Mobile:   0274 425  838
Email: [email protected]