Home > Farmers urged to upskill to capitalise on buoyant outlook

Farmers urged to upskill to capitalise on buoyant outlook

Editorial
article image Rabobank Australia CEO Peter Knoblanche.

Australia’s agricultural sector is poised for a good year, but strong business management skills are needed if farmers are to capitalise on this buoyant outlook, the head of Rabobank has told farmers.

Announcing the opening of applications for this year’s Farm Managers Program, Rabobank Australia CEO Peter Knoblanche said the bank saw a strong outlook for Australian agriculture in 2017 and beyond, with factors in its favour including the projected rise in global economic growth and strong commodity prices for most livestock and crops.

“This has translated into strong investment activity within the sector, and it is those farmers with astute business management skills who are better equipped to capitalise on these opportunities,” Knoblanche said.

Designed to strengthen the operational and strategic skills of emerging farmers, the annually- held Farm Managers Program covers topics including global trends in agriculture, business planning, financial management, leadership and succession planning.

With Rabobank’s Farm Managers Program developed for young farmers, Knoblanche said, there was “no better time for the younger generation to develop their business and leadership skills, particularly those looking to take over the reins of the family business or step up into managerial positions”.

While there has “rarely been a better time to be in agriculture”, Knoblanche said, the bank’s view of the year ahead was that it wouldn’t be “all smooth sailing”, with “potential storm clouds gathering on the horizon” as uncertainties prevailed on global economic and regulatory fronts.

With the Farm Managers Program examining global trends and key influences in agriculture, Mr Knoblanche said the program was focused on developing a range of commercial management skills to help farmers increase their resilience in this changeable environment.

As part of this, the program also looked at technologies and the future of the food and agri sector in an increasingly ag-tech world, he said.

Mr Knoblanche said the appetite amongst farmers to improve their skills and knowledge, particularly around the adoption of emerging technologies, was strong.

A recent survey of 1000 Australian farmers, conducted by Rabobank, found 34 per cent of respondents were looking to upskill through education and training over the coming year – of which, more than half (57 per cent) were intending to increase their knowledge around the adoption of emerging technologies.

“While young farmers are leading the way when it comes to the adoption of new technologies, the pace of change is so rapid which makes it a complex process to not only keep abreast of the new technologies but make informed decisions around which will deliver tangible benefits to the business,” Knoblanche said.

“Much of this learning comes from speaking with other farmers to see what works for them, and the Farm Managers Program provides a forum for like-minded farmers from across Australia and New Zealand and a range of agricultural sectors to come together to share ideas and best- practice.”

Now in its twelfth year, more than 300 farmers have graduated from the program with this year’s Farm Managers Program to be held from June 18 to 23 in South Australia’s Barossa Valley.

With strong demand expected for a place on the program, and only 36 farmers accepted in this year’s intake, young progressive primary producers are urged to apply before April 13 at www.rabobank.com.au/bmp

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