Calling next-gen farmers to fine-tune their financial management skills


Young producers in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland will be among the first in Australia to access financial literacy workshops designed to give the next generation of farmers a ‘leg up’ in financial management to help grow their family businesses.

The practical one-day Farm Financial Skills Workshop will be held in Texas on November 6 and North Star on November 7 – as part of a national rollout of the program, which aims to reach 5000 up-and-coming farmers by 2025.

The interactive workshops, which are free of charge, will be run by food and agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank with sessions on gross margin analysis, cash flow budgeting, interpreting financial statements and managing the business through adversity. The day will also include presentations from highly-regarded local farmers and business professionals including Ed Hickson, Tim Ramsay, Todd Cranney, Andrew Crowe and Rob Long.

An initiative of Rabobank’s Client Councils – a group of the bank’s farming clients who meet to discuss issues and implement initiatives to contribute to the sustainability of rural communities – the program has been designed to give the next generation of farmers access to financial education in the communities in which they live.

Rabobank Client Council member for northern New South Wales and southern Queensland, Nicky Littlewood from “Burringbar”, Boggabilla said she hoped the next generation walked away from the workshops feeling positive and inspired to grow their business in the future.

“We hope that by staging the workshops at this current time, it will help equip farmers with the skills to take up opportunities when the season and production improves.”

Mrs Littlewood said the program content would also help put young farmers in the driver’s seat when talking to their financial advisers.

“Having a greater understanding of your business when approaching your financier really helps when applying for any additional finance requirements or to fund a new venture,” she said. “And this kind of information is real and valuable, as it is something you can walk away with from this program and use in the business.”

Rabobank general manager Knowledge and Networks, Sustainability and Community Engagement Marc Oostdijk said the workshop content had been tailored to farming businesses in the region through realistic case studies.

“Through these case studies, the sessions will look at what makes up a balance sheet, profit and loss statement and cash flow,” Mr Oostdijk said, “and then interpreting the financial ratios to make calculated business decisions.

“This then feeds into sessions on how banks assess a loan and the importance of developing a business plan as well as managing the business through adversity and positioning the business when the season improves.”

Drawing on the expertise of local farmers and businesspeople, the workshops would also give participants the chance to hear from those in their community who have embarked on new business ventures and what they have learnt along the way, he said.

“Listening to innovative people within your own industry talk openly about how they got to where they are now and how they transformed that ‘good idea’ into a business is invaluable,” Mr Oostdijk said.

Funded by Rabobank’s Client Councils, the workshops are open to clients and non-clients of Rabobank and there is no cost for farmers to attend.

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