Global Agriculture

Farm Business Updates help grain-growing businesses take-off

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16 May 2023, AU: Learning how to manage risk from a former Royal Australian Navy helicopter pilot and calculating farm carbon are just two of the standout topics featured in the Farm Business Updates rolling out across Victoria’s Wimmera region and into South Australia next month.

Designed to build mastery in farm business management among people working in and advising grain-growing businesses, the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Farm Business Updates will be held in Birchip (Vic) on June 6, Horsham (Vic) on June 7 and Bordertown (SA) on June 8.

GRDC grower relations manager Courtney Ramsey has been working with local growers for six years. She says the topics were identified by growers through GRDC’s National Grower Network (NGN) as those that were of most interest.

“We’ve got a great line-up of speakers and topics that have been identified by local growers as important to know more about to support their farm business management,” says Ms Ramsey.

“GRDC’s ‘Opportunity for profit’ project in 2018 clearly identified the factor driving differences in profit between the top 20% of growers and the rest is farm business skills.

“The Farm Business Updates are designed to help growers refresh knowledge and networks, challenge the status quo in business practices, upskill and discover the unknown unknowns of farm business.

“At updates in 2023 so far, a whopping average 98% of attendees told us the update increased their knowledge and awareness of business decision making.”

She added that farm carbon emissions and capture was one of the issues raised of interest to growers across all of the recent NGN Forums held in the Wimmera.

Federation University’s Craig Hurley will explore the topic and what ‘net zero’ could look like for growers through a series of three grower case studies from the Wimmera region.

Mr Hurley’s work – initiated by the Wimmera Development Association – sought to identify and test carbon calculators, determine the data growers would need to enter into those calculators, and how to analyse the results.

“We wanted to assess how well carbon calculators were determining the source and volumes of carbon coming from a farm,” says Mr Hurley.

“Growers will be able to look at one of the case study farms from our research that is most similar to their farm business to get an idea of their own carbon profile and options to reduce carbon emissions.

According to Mr Hurley the good news for growers is that “net-zero is doable”.

Other topics to be covered will include financial analysis of growth opportunities, getting up to speed on taxation updates, smart employee induction strategies and a panel discussion on solutions to labour availability.

Fresh from speaking at Farm Business Updates held in northern Victoria earlier this year, helicopter pilot Natalee Johnston will share her insights to help with personal and team performance under pressure and in high-risk environments.

“I had a couple of great conversations with the attendees at the Farm Business Updates and there was a recognition and appreciation of the similarities between farming and aviation – particularly military aviation – and there was interest in the shared lessons,” says Ms Johnston.

“Some people were particularly interested in what they can do to enhance farm culture, improve communication, and deal with challenging conversations.

“Within aviation, we are trained from the beginning to stand up and tell everyone about the mistakes and errors we make so others can learn.

“We would often use safety reports and case studies to review and then improve our own operations.

“This acceptance from the start that we, as humans, make mistakes and it is OK to report them is one of the building blocks of a positive culture.

“As safety systems developed and we improved in our effectiveness in risk management, it opened opportunities to try new approaches or alternatives as we gained a greater appreciation of what the risks were and how we could eliminate, reduce and control them.”

Other speakers include:

  • Denise McLellan (Denise McLellan Consulting): Communicating your workplace expectations with employees – the induction roadmap
  • John Francis (Agrista): Making ‘good’ decisions today and tomorrow – analysing contributions to profit
  • Local accountants: Tax update – SMSF proposed changes and the world after Instant Asset Write-off
  • Craig Hurley (Federation University): Looking towards the future of carbon emissions – a case study for the grains industry

Also, a panel discussion ‘Industry responses to labour supply challenges’ facilitated by ORM’s Ben Hogan will explore different labour supply solutions from an industry level to individual farm businesses such as automation, work visas and farm system adaptation.

Also Read: Decrease in area under Summer Crops in the country; Paddy down by 6 percent

(For Latest Agriculture News & Updates, follow Krishak Jagat on Google News)

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