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Enterprise planning pays off for a Victorian dairy farmer

Enterprise planning is rewarded for a Victorian dairy farmer – winner of the Rabobank Enterprise Administration award 2022

Victorian dairy farmer Nicole Saunders has received the 2022 Rabobank Enterprise Administration Award from a subject of a few of Australia’s main farmers.

Ms Saunders, who operates a dairy enterprise close to Maffra in Gippsland, Victoria, obtained the award for the strategic marketing strategy she developed for her enterprise, after finishing the Rabobank Farm Managers Program (FMP), a course specialised designed to strengthen the operational functioning and strategic expertise of rising farmers.

The plan – which Ms Saunders, 29, developed as a administration venture after endeavor FMP – is already delivering tangible advantages to the farm’s profitability and sustainability, serving to to remodel the operation she began with husband Brendan after the couple moved to Australia from New Zealand simply 5 years in the past.

The Rabobank Farm Managers program is an annual course developed for farmers seeking to enhance their administration expertise. This system covers matters similar to international tendencies in agriculture, enterprise planning, monetary administration, management, and succession planning.

By studying the teachings of the FMP and implementing them within the dairy trade, Ms. Saunders has been capable of enhance enterprise productiveness and effectivity, expertise adoption and farm infrastructure since that she graduated from this system in 2019.

Ms Saunders and her husband moved to Australia from New Zealand in July 2018 as they believed there have been higher alternatives obtainable within the Australian dairy sector.

“We have been attracted by falling land costs in Australia and the potential for greater returns,” she mentioned. “On the time we arrived, Australian land costs have been round a 3rd of the value of land in New Zealand. In fact, that has modified dramatically over the previous 5 years.

The couple went from being a 40/60 sharecropper proportion in 2018 on a 700 cow farm to a farm with an anticipated manufacturing of 800,000 kg/DM within the 2022/2023 season, proudly owning 1,500 cows and having a mixture of leased and owned land close to Mafra.

“We selected to farm within the Macalister Irrigation District in central Gippsland due to the water safety – we’re very effectively insulated from drought and climate,” Ms Saunders mentioned.

She mentioned her participation in FMP at a time of huge enlargement for her enterprise allowed her to make use of the instruments and theories realized throughout this system in “actual time.”

The marketing strategy that Ms. Saunders developed included 4 objectives: to extend revenue per hectare, produce a top quality product, enhance their staff and develop the enterprise.

“To extend the revenue per hectare, we targeted on worthwhile feeding. To realize this, we modified the calving sample for full spring calving to make sure a greater match with pasture manufacturing and the power to optimize cow rations primarily based on their milk manufacturing curve. We’ve additionally targeted on a pasture renovation and fertilization plan. Consequently, we had a 25% enhance in manufacturing in comparison with the earlier season,” she mentioned.

To realize the purpose of manufacturing a top quality product, Ms Saunders has applied a bonus system, the place staff obtain a bonus when their somatic cell depend (SCC) – a sign of cow udder well being and milk high quality – averages lower than 150,000.

“Workers have been important to the expansion of our dairy enterprise – our staff is our biggest asset,” she mentioned. “Our persons are our main focus – they’re key to having the ability to function at scale. We’ve now included values ​​and tradition statements within the marketing strategy, demonstrating how essential our staff is to us and our enterprise.

“To realize the purpose of an improved staff, everybody took milking programs and we noticed a major enchancment of their milking expertise and information. We additionally launched “work telephones” as we had problem speaking with staff throughout working hours as they’d not have their telephones with them within the shed. I additionally modified our listing system, so that everybody’s roles are extra clearly specified. And I launched a pill within the dairy shed – it’s used each for timing and for managing every day duties, weekly duties and checklists by way of an app. »

Ms Saunders mentioned the couple’s fourth purpose – to develop their enterprise – has seen the addition of a contract arm to their operation in addition to diversification into horticulture and tourism with a brand new ‘Berry Dairy’ enterprise set to open in October 2023. The ‘Berry Dairy’ shall be a pick-your-own strawberry operation with a café on the farm.

Long run, Ms Saunders mentioned. she want to hyperlink the dairy enterprise and the café, remodeling her personal milk into a distinct segment product and having the ability to have an entire paddock-to-table expertise. “I imagine the way forward for agriculture is about ensuring persons are linked to the place their meals and training come from,” she mentioned.

Ms Saunders mentioned that in the course of the technique of creating her administration plan, she created a collection of three “administration phases” to include into her enterprise.

“Step one is to concentrate on wholesome pondering, to ensure you have a extremely good mindset,” she mentioned. “Taking part in FMP in June 2019 was excellent timing. We have been busy establishing a enterprise in a brand new nation throughout one of many worst droughts – it had been a troublesome 12 months for my psychological well being.

“Throughout this system, one of many presenters, Dr. Tom Mulholland, gave us instruments to assist acknowledge ideas as triggers, and when you’ve gotten a adverse or pointless thought, come again into your thoughts to the place it originated. this thought and ask the questions – ‘does this justify your emotion? do I must get indignant?, is that this emotion helpful to me?’.

Ms Saunders mentioned she additionally realized to acknowledge the worth of time and never waste time on negativity. “You possibly can’t get that point again – I believe that concept modified my thought course of considerably. Additionally, your online business is not going wherever until you’re taking the time to handle your self first.

Making a marketing strategy was the second step, with the third and remaining step being the implementation of the plan and objectives.

“The third step in implementing our marketing strategy was important, as a result of a marketing strategy is ineffective if it simply sits in a drawer. And through the years now we have continued to make modifications to the marketing strategy throughout annual evaluations,” she mentioned.

Ms Saunders obtained the Rabobank Enterprise Administration Prize from Rabobank Managing Director, Sustainability and Neighborhood, Marc Oostdijk in entrance of graduates of the 2022 Farm Managers Program and trade leaders on the program’s latest commencement dinner in Sydney.

Now in its sixteenth 12 months, greater than 500 Australian and New Zealand farmers have graduated from the programme.

Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Group is a part of the worldwide Rabobank Group, the world’s main specialist in meals and agribusiness banking. Rabobank has over 120 years of expertise in offering tailor-made banking and monetary options to companies concerned in all features of meals and agribusiness. Rabobank is structured as a cooperative and operates in 38 international locations, serving the wants of roughly 8.4 million clients worldwide by means of a community of over 1,000 places of work and branches. Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Group is one in every of Australasia’s main agricultural lenders and a number one supplier of enterprise and company banking and monetary providers to the area’s meals and agribusiness sector. The financial institution has 90 branches in Australia and New Zealand.

/Public launch. This materials from the unique group/authors could also be ad hoc in nature, edited for readability, fashion and size. The views and opinions expressed are these of the authors.

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