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Business management skills are needed to turn positive agricultural outlook into profit

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article image Leading agricultural banker, Neil Dobbin

A leading agricultural banker has told Australian and New Zealand farmers that strong business management skills are the essential ingredient needed to turn the current strong positive outlook for agriculture into profit.

Speaking at the opening of applications for the 2011 Rabobank Business Management Programs, Rabobank Group Executive Country Banking, Neil Dobbin said the bank saw a strong positive outlook for Australian and New Zealand agriculture in the coming year and beyond, with overall robust global prices supported by tight supply in most commodity markets.

However, he also pointed out that this outlook comes with its challenges, such as increasing price volatility, a high currency and market access issues.

“A key ingredient in farmers being able to manage these challenges and turn the positive signs into profit will be their ability to cleverly and effectively run their businesses. And this requires strong business management skills,” he said. “Now, more than ever before, sound business management will be what sets successful producers apart from the rest.”

Dobbin explains that a core focus for this year’s Rabobank Business Management Programs is to provide primary producers with a range of commercial management tools to help them handle the changeable and challenging agricultural environment.

Rabobank offers farmers two programs to develop and enhance business management skills. Each is tailored to a different career stage and both bring together primary producers from a variety of commodities and regions in Australia and New Zealand:

The Rabobank Farm Managers Program (FMP)

This program aims to strengthen the operational and strategic skills of tomorrow’s farm leaders. Topics around leadership, business planning, financial and economic management, and succession planning are covered.

This will be delivered as a five-day residential module from June 20 to 24 in Brisbane.

The Rabobank Executive Development Program (EDP)

This program is designed for primary producers who are owners and/or key decision makers of the agricultural sector. Now in its twelfth year, the EDP introduces participants to the latest practices in business management, leadership, strategy, finance, human resources, value chain management and marketing. It lets them know how these can be directly applied to their farm businesses.

It is delivered in two residential six-day modules over two consecutive years. The first module for the 2011 course will be held in Sydney from August 21 to 26. Module 2 is scheduled for July next year.

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