Pilot sets course for farm business management


Former helicopter pilot for the Australian Royal Navy Natalee Johnston will join a lineup of speakers to share inspirational stories and down-to-earth advice to help the performance and farm business management skills of grain growers and their teams take off.

Two Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Farm Business Updates – Yarrawonga (21 Mar) and Elmore (22 Mar) – will cover topics including how to improve personal performance under pressure, dealing with the pressures of rising machinery costs and managing farm business cashflow.

Farm Business Updates help people working in and advising grain-growing businesses to understand best practices for farm business management and implement changes to support the enduring profitability of those businesses.

Rutherglen grain grower and GRDC Southern Panel chair Andrew Russell says that increasing crop productivity alone is not enough to increase grower profitability.

“While many of us spend time and focus on improving crop productivity and thinking about what we do in the paddock – that’s only part of the story,” Mr Russell says.

“We all know that other aspects of the business like managing our own motivation and productivity, and that of the people working around us, and dealing with financial management are critical parts of ensuring our businesses are as profitable as they can be.

“Through our Farm Business Updates in Yarrawonga and Elmore, we’ve created opportunities to share knowledge that affects our business that we can influence outside of the paddock.”

He added that the Farm Business Updates would be a great opportunity to catch up with peers and have valuable discussions throughout the day, and to stimulate useful conversations with advisers after the event.

“We encourage business owners to come along and send members of their teams – including people supporting financial, staff and marketing management – to join these Farm Business Updates to build expertise across their business,” Mr Russell says.

Image of Natalee Johnston.Former Royal Australian Navy pilot Natalee Johnston will headline the upcoming Farm Business Updates in NE Victoria at Yarrawonga and Elmore talking about safety and personal performance. Photo courtesy of the Royal Australian Navy. Photo: GRDC.

Keynote speaker, Ms Johnston – who grew up on a small farm in the Western Australian wheatbelt – is also keen to see a diversity of people attend. She will share her expertise in managing safety and performing under pressure – both important aspects of farm business management that matter in the paddock and in the office.

“As a pilot I am used to getting immediate feedback if a decision or action is not the right one, but for the people who maintain aircraft it is another story,” says Ms Johnston.

“If they make an error or a sub-optimal decision it could be hours of flying, or months or years before the error is realised and the result can be catastrophic.

“This can be the same for growers, the impact of a decision made at seeding time will not be felt until harvest or later.”

Ms Johnston added that as part of her presentation at the Updates she wanted to share her knowledge of what influences and affects people’s performance and decisions – especially under pressure.

“I hope to impart an understanding and realisation that making the best decisions with the information you have at the time can aid in building resilience,” she says.

“That resilience is not just about bouncing back, it is about learning the lessons from each other and the experience, trying new things and growing a positive work culture.

“It can assist in managing risk by recognising and developing effective controls to reduce the negative impact.”

Other speakers and topics include:

  • Gary Northover (TMA) and Ben Hogan (ORM): Profitable machinery investment
  • Cam Nicholson (Nicon Rural Services): Effective decision making
  • John Francis (Agrista, Yarrawonga) and Kate Burke (Think Agri, Elmore): Analysing contributions to profit
  • Sam Trattles (Other Side of the Table): Communicating with influence

Also, a panel discussion ‘Managing cashflow through 2023’ facilitated by ORM’s Jane Foster will explore the levers farm businesses can pull to manage cash, control costs and plan for the year.

Registration and information:

/Public Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) might be of the point-in-time nature, and edited for clarity, style and length. Mirage.News does not take institutional positions or sides, and all views, positions, and conclusions expressed herein are solely those of the author(s).View in full here.