Home > Rabobank farm business management program calls for 2014 applications

Rabobank farm business management program calls for 2014 applications

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article image Rod Manning

Agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank has called for applications for this year’s Executive Development Program.

The prestigious program, which gives leading farmers from across Australia and New Zealand the opportunity to enhance their business management skills and take their enterprises forward, is open for applications for the 2014 course, commencing in August. 

Announcing the opening of applications for the 2014 program, Rabobank Australia acting CEO Peter Knoblanche said farm management has evolved to become much more commercially focused than in the past, making it necessary for primary producers to think more strategically about how they run their operations as well as manage many risks and develop their people skills and capability.

According to Mr Knoblanche, a big part of that evolution is investing in themselves in order to benefit their business. He explains that the primary objective of the Executive Development Program is to focus on the commercial and strategic factors that farmers face today. 

Run in two separate modules over the course of one full year, the program introduces participants to the latest practices in business management, leadership, strategy, finance, human resources, value chain management and marketing, and how these can be directly applied to their farm businesses. 

North-east Victorian beef producer Rod Manning entered the Executive Development Program in 2013, to help him transition into a lead management role by taking on more responsibility for the direction of his farm. 

Rod manages a 1,800-hectare family enterprise ‘Davilak’ in Mansfield, which runs 1,400 commercial Angus cattle as part of an intensive grazing pasture-based system. 

On completion of the Executive Development Program, Rod said one of the main goals he set for the business was implementing a structured approach to roles and responsibilities for on-farm operations.

With a focus on expanding the farm enterprise, Rod wants to keep the momentum going, implementing the lessons of the Rabobank program.

For instance, he is sitting down with a group of other local producers, discussing their business, and benchmarking collectively so they can keep their businesses progressing in all aspects. 

For the most part, Rod said the farm has been a family-run business and fairly fluid but now, he is keen to see more structure and have a clearer picture of responsibilities for their operations. 

Financial planning, management structuring and business strategies are some of the focus areas for the farm. With his sister Kate returning home and his father stepping back from the day-to-day operational duties, Rod said it has been important to engineer a management structure so people know where their responsibilities are and what they’re accountable for on the farm. 

He comments that the Rabobank program really articulated the importance of a management structure, especially when one is managing staff and relationships on-farm. 

Overall, Rod said one of the main takeaways from the Executive Development Program has been the need to address succession planning as early as possible.

Applications for Rabobank’s 2014 Executive Development Program are open until Friday 30 May 2014, with applicants accepted from across a range of commodities and geographical locations in Australia and New Zealand. Held in Sydney, the first module runs from 17 to 22 August 2014, with the second module taking place in July of next year. 

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