THE driver behind the establishment of new agricultural equipment business JJ Farm Equipment is the man for which it is named.
After 20 years in the agricultural equipment industry and hailing from three generations of farmers at Rankins Springs, managing director Justin James brings a lifetime of agricultural experience to operations.
However, agriculture was not Justin’s first venture into the workforce.
After attending Yanco Agricultural High School he got himself a trade qualification in building.
“I was told to go out and get a ticket before I came back to the farm,” Justin said. “When I was ready to come back, the family was getting out of the farm.”
Justin worked on the tools and in retail in the industry, before moving into farm machinery retail in 1999.
“Things had changed quite a lot by then,” he said. “When I came into it they had gone from equipment that was purely mechanical to everything electrical and pushing buttons.”
His reputation grew and Justin joined CNH (Case New Holland) Australia in Sydney to become dealer support manager – tillage, seeding and sprayers; a role that grew from state-based, to cover the eastern seaboard and then national.
Justin was drawn back to Griffith for family reasons and was then asked to lead Intersales in Leeton.
After that he moved back into wholesale with a role at Howard Australia, where he was put in charge of importing Morris machinery for the eastern states of Australia.
Based in Griffith, Justin was with the company for eight years and was able to re-launch the brand in eastern Australia and grow the business.
He then joined the local AGCO dealer for three years before diversifying into the seed industry with DuPont Pioneer as the southern NSW area sales manager.
“I started to get a bit disinterested with machinery, but I wanted to stay in agriculture so moved into seed,” Justin said.
“I had to challenge myself to re-learn and take myself out of my comfort zone. I did find it hard, not having that technical, agronomy background. I ended up with the second-highest sales of canola seed in Australia so I gave it crack.”
Prior to deciding to start JJ Farm Equipment, Justin was the southern territory manager for machinery wholesaler Landpower Australia.
The chance to start a shortline operation to service his home agricultural industry was too much of a draw to ignore.
“I had thought there was an opportunity in this industry for a couple of years,” Justin said.
“It is strong in the US. I had been watching how they were doing it and, having travelled over there, I was able to see how it worked first hand.”