Opportunity for progressive red meat farmers to develop business skills

Willie and Sue Macdonald. Sue Macdonald urges farmers to attend the course "sooner rather than later." She wishes they had done the programme "five years earlier", but is pleased they attended the course together.

An opportunity has  opened up for New Zealand’s progressive red meat farmers to develop and enhance their business skills.

Applications have opened for the 2016 Rabobank Executive Development Programme (EDP). Now in its eighteenth year, more than 500 New Zealand and Australian farmers have graduated from the intensive two-week program, which covers all aspects of business management including strategic goal setting, negotiation, risk management, leadership and technology.

Announcing the opening of applications, Rabobank general manager Country Banking New Zealand Hayley Moynihan says: “Interest in the programme is perhaps stronger than ever, even taking into account the current downturn in the dairy industry”.

She says farmers are recognising the need to proactively prepare their business for the future in an increasingly complex and commercial environment.

Hayley Moynihan
Hayley Moynihan, Rabobank general manager Country Banking NZ.

“Good strategic business management is key to running a successful business,” she says. “While commodity prices, weather and other external factors significantly affect the business, it is the way the business is managed – that human capital – that in the majority of situations ultimately determines its long-term success.”

An intensive residential programme consisting of two modules, the EDP provides course participants with the opportunity to not only learn from industry and business experts, but also from other like-minded farmers through hands-on discussions, work groups and case studies.

Moynihan explains that the EDP aims to equip farmers with the skills and confidence to make more informed business decisions. “Much of this learning comes from networking with the other course participants – who represent New Zealand and Australia’s most progressive farmers.”

Graduates of the 2015 EDP, Willie and Sue Macdonald from Middlehurst Station in Marlborough said expansion of their business and future growth plans were the impetus for attending the program, with the couple running a merino sheep and beef operation on their 16,650 hectare high country station.

“Since completing the programme, we now approach the business with greater strategic direction, and are not so focused on just the day-to-day operational-side,” Willie said.

The EDP management project, completed between the two one-week modules of the course, is designed to give participants the framework to put into practice and develop the skills, tools and ideas from the programme – with the project essentially forming the strategic plan for their business.

Applications for the Rabobank 2016 Executive Development Programme are open until May 27, with applicants accepted from across a range of commodities and geographical locations in New Zealand and Australia. Held in Sydney, the first module runs from 14-19 August, with the second module taking place in July 2017.

Producers interested in an application form or any further information should visit www.rabobank.co.nz/bmp or contact Rabobank business programmes manager Nerida Sweetapple on +61 2 6363 5910 or email nerida.sweetapple@rabobank.com.


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