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Taking a proactive approach to farm business management is critical to ensure success, according to farm owner Tony Buckingham, of ‘Wainui Hills’, in the Southern Southland, who completed Rabobank’s Farm Managers Program.
Running a Perendale-Coopdale fat lamb enterprise across three properties in the Waimahaka region, Tony was seeking the opportunity to set some strategic goals for his family business to help them step things up to the next level.
Tony said the Rabobank program helped set the ‘wheels in motion’ for their business planning, motivating him to address key issues for the family business – rather than reactively.
“The program really highlights things you know in the back of your head you have to address at some stage – like succession planning – but motivates you to take a head-on approach so you’re not caught behind the eight-ball,” Tony said.
“We really thinking about where we’re heading in the next 10-15 years, rather than just going along in our own way, we’re doing things proactively. We now have a special focus on time management by introducing a strategic plan, we have better structures in place to manage the enterprise – we have a weekly plan, then a monthly plan, so we’re thinking ahead and we’ve always got things in place better for the long-term plan.”
The Farm Managers Program, which is now in its eighth year, is modelled on Rabobank’s highly-respected Executive Development Program and aims to strengthen the operational and strategic skills of tomorrow’s farm managers.
It is open to all progressive young farmers from across Australia and New Zealand from a range of agricultural commodities and covers topics around leadership, business planning, financial and economic management, and succession planning. Applications for the 2013 Farm Managers Program are now open.
“I think one of the biggest focus of the course was getting yourself mentally right which means having the right attitude to yourself and your business, taking the positives out of life and to do away with negativity,” Tony said.
“It’s also about taking a step out of your business and looking it from the outside. Often you’re too busy, knee-deep in the everyday tasks to take time out and look at where you’re weaknesses are. It’s important to look at where you can improve.”
Tony said the Farm Managers Program is one of the most “valuable” things he’d ever done in life.
"I’ve got an incredible amount out of the program and I’m motivated to go that next level,” he said. “Don’t settle for mediocre – it doesn’t matter which line of business you’re in, if you’re contemplating doing some education around farm management, you’d be crazy not to enrol.”
Announcing the opening of applications for the 2013 Farm Managers Program, Rabobank New Zealand CEO Ben Russell said many important business skills are covered in the program – most importantly in “an agricultural context” making them relevant for farmers.
“Rabobank’s farm business management programs support the strategic development of Australian and New Zealand agricultural business,” Mr Russell said. “Any young farmers who are looking to take the reins of their farm business should apply for the Farm Managers Program. It’s a great opportunity to hone in on core skills to set their business on a pathway to success – to manage the tough times and really excel in the good times.”
Applications for the 2013 Rabobank Farm Managers Program are open until 26 April.
Only 36 applicants will be offered places on the program which will be held at the Grange Cleveland Winery, Lancefield, Victoria from Monday 17 to Friday 21 June, 2013.
Producers interested in an application form or any further information on the Rabobank Farm Managers Program should visit www.rabobank.co.nz or contact Rabobank business programs manager Nerida Sweetapple on 02 8115 4139 or email email@example.com.
This article was supplied by Rabobank.