FARMERS’ business management and leadership skills will increasingly become the key determinant in running successful agricultural operations in Australia, according to Rabobank CEO Peter Knoblanche.
Mr Knoblanche said traditional farming skills had been “relegated to a given” for the country’s current and emerging rural entrepreneurs, as they navigated an increasingly complex, volatile and competitive – but also potentially much more rewarding – market place.
“The time when farmers just had to be good at production alone to run a successful farming business is frankly completely behind us now,” he said.
“Those skills are a given. The best operators and those who will succeed and thrive into the future are those who are also exceptional business people and leaders.
“Being a good farmer is not just about growing and managing your crops or livestock well. As farmers are well aware, it is a very complex industry which involves everything from cutting-edge financial management through to commodity hedging and other risk management strategies to supply chain management, consumer research and marketing, the use and application of ag tech, human resource management, governance and sustainability management – to name just some of the elements.”
Speaking on the opening of applications for this year’s Rabobank Business Management Programs, Mr Knoblanche said Australian farmers were increasingly recognising the importance of investing in and developing their own strategic business skills and other capabilities.
A recent survey by the bank had shown that nation-wide, more than two-thirds of farmers reported that upskilling through education and training had an important role to play in better managing their farm business, with the majority having an appetite to further develop their knowledge and skills in business planning and management and emerging technologies.
Mr Knoblanche said about 70 per cent of those surveyed indicated upskilling through education and training was important to improve management of their farm business.
This was across a range of commodities and farm sizes, but more recognised among farmers with operations generating gross incomes of $500,000 and above.
While in commodities, the strongest interest was shown to be among cotton and beef and sheep producers.
Rabobank’s two annual Business Management Programs – the Farm Managers Program for up-and-coming farmers and the Executive Development Program for experienced farm business owners or senior managers – are designed to equip primary producers with the building blocks to take their business to the next level.
Both courses run as residential programs. The 2018 Farm Managers Program will be held from June 17 to 22 in South Australia’s Barossa Valley. The first week-long module of the Executive Development Program will be staged from August 19 to 24, 2018, with the second week-long module scheduled for July 14 to 19, 2019.
Applications for the FMP close on Friday, April 27 and for the EDP on Friday May, 25. Further information and applications can be found at https://www.rabobank.com.au/agribusiness/business-management-programs/