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Broaden Your Skills, See The Results – Farm Business Program

Media Release March 26, 2013 1

Broaden Your Skills And See The Results – Farm Business Management Program Now Open

Farmers looking to broaden their business knowledge to make their farm enterprise reach ‘the next level’ should apply for the Rabobank Executive Development Program, according to a recent program graduate, Guy Melville, of ‘Kairangaroa Pastoral’, Taihape in the North Island.

Applications have officially opened for the 2013 year intake of prestigious Rabobank Executive Development Program which gives leading Australian and New Zealand, farmers from a range of agricultural sectors, the opportunity to develop and enhance their business management skills.

Now in its fourteenth year, the program covers all aspects of rural enterprise management to help drive sustainable business growth, including strategic goal setting, negotiating and people management.

Mr Melville, in partnership with his wife Jennie, is in charge of running a substantial sheep and beef operation in the central North Island and said he was serious about enhancing the performance of the farming business and needed to increase his strategic know-how to deliver on his objectives.

“As an equity manager and company director of Kaiangaroa Pastoral Limited, on top of being a day-to-day farmer, I have to deal with a wide range of people – from staff, to a management committee, to directors and shareholders, I knew it was wise to broaden my knowledge around strategic management skills,” Mr Melville said.

“It’s not just about farming these days – there are many more aspects to running a profitable agricultural enterprise. It’s easy to get caught up in the daily hands-on running of the farm, like stock work and practical tasks, but there are many other skills we need now in order to run a successful farming business.”

After 10 years as a rower and competing at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, Mr Melville returned to the family farm and over time, grew his overall business significantly.

In 2010 Mr Melville sold part of the family farm and ventured into an equity partnership.

After more than doubling the stock units and significantly increasing the landholding, investment partners have since been brought onside through a syndicate model where Mr Melville acts as an equity manager for the entire farm enterprise.

“We’re running 24,000 stock units now – approximately 10,000 breeding ewes, 3,000 replacement hoggets, and we fatten 10 to 11,000 lambs annually,” he said.

“On the beef side, there are 350 cows, mostly Angus, and we run a component of approximately 250 trading bulls and steers, as well as 320 dairy grazers in 18-month grazing contracts.”

Mr Melville said learning to deal with the different personalities in business and understanding the ways in which people work differently – knowledge he built through the Executive Development Program – has been a big help.

“It was really good to cover all the bases of farm management in the program, from succession planning to people management,” he said.

“Governance is a big thing in our business now, and understanding the implications as a director and what you’re responsible for, then using the strategic thinking to get management committees onside – it’s been good to have improved and created more skills and knowledge to bring to the table to broaden our thinking as a whole organisation.”

With the range of other high calibre participants on the program, Mr Melville said the overall networking experience was second to none and he still makes use of the contacts made beyond the realm of the course classroom.

“A friend of mine was on the course with me and I have made friends with others who I have connected with and we can bounce ideas around about each other’s businesses,” he said.

“It was good having a mix of Australian and New Zealand farmers too – we all face lots of difficulties in our own way, but it comes down to similar scenarios and we’re all in it together.”

Applications for Rabobank’s 2013 Executive Development Program are open until Friday 31 May 2013, with applicants accepted from across a range of commodities and geographical locations in Australia and New Zealand. Held in Sydney, the first module runs from 18-23 August 2013, with the second module taking place in July of next year.

Rabobank New Zealand is a part of the international Rabobank Group, the world’s leading specialist in food and agribusiness banking. Rabobank has more than 110 years’ experience providing customised banking and finance solutions to businesses involved in all aspects of food and agribusiness. Rabobank is structured as a cooperative operates in 47 countries, servicing the needs of approximately 10 million clients worldwide through a network of more than 1600 offices and branches. Rabobank New Zealand is one of the Media Release March 26, 2013 country's leading rural lenders and a significant provider of business and corporate banking and financial services to the New Zealand food and agribusiness sector. The bank has 32 branches throughout New Zealand.


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