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NZ dairy farmer picks up management award

Media Release October 14, 2008

NZ dairy farmer picks up leading business management award

Taking the time to develop young farmers, while also being able to manage the growth of his business, has seen New Zealand dairy farmer Peter Flood collect this year’s Rabobank Executive Development Program (EDP) Management Project Award. Mr Flood – who farms 3,600 milking cows on 1,230 hectares of land in Ruawai, Kerikeri and Kai Iwi Lakes – was one of 35 leading primary producers from around New Zealand and Australia who recently graduated from the EDP, a business management program designed to further enhance the skills of Australasia’s leading agricultural producers.

Rabobank business programs manager Kate Steel said Peter Flood was chosen as the award winner as he demonstrated that the EDP course provided the most stimuli for major changes to his business and personal life.

“Peter used his learnings from the EDP to build a sustainable business structure for his farm. He formed a parent company called ‘Top Flight Agri’ and restructured his farm businesses to stand alone underneath this company. Through Top Flight Agri, Peter employed two external directors to give strategic advice which meant that Peter could take some time to focus on his other passion, developing and mentoring young farmers,” she said.

Peter Flood said the Executive Development Program had given him the confidence and skills to “set the wheels in motion”. “The EDP made me re-look at my goals, and then ‘jump started’ me down the road to set plans in place to achieve them,” he said. The EDP module on business structures had the most significant impact on Mr Flood’s business. “I learnt that my management structure was not sustainable, so this is where I made the most significant changes,” he said.

“Once I had formed Top Flight Agri, I saw a need to reassess my management structure. The new structure needed to be easily run and simple for staff to understand to get the best performance. I understood that all people are different, and you can’t have the same approach to achieve a common outcome.

“I implemented a new structure from the ideas I had gained through the EDP. The new structure has clearly written goals, policies, and procedures in place that are comprehensible and easy for staff to understand, believe in, and carry out.” Organisational development consultant Dr Melinda Muth’s program presentation on strategic leadership was also a real help to Peter Flood.

Ms Steel said that the EDP strategic leadership and business strategy topics prove invaluable to many program participants. “Participants can take the time to look at their structure, re-evaluate if necessary and understand what is working, or what isn’t,” she said. With a sustainable business structure in place, Mr Flood began to mentor and develop young farmers with a focus on helping them to achieve their own goals in farming.

“One of my key aims from the management project was to develop young farmers and grow them into positions to help them develop their goals and dreams,” he said. “To pass on my knowledge to other farmers I had to overcome my fear of standing up in front of people and presenting. The EDP gave me the courage to do this and I have presented at three major dairy events and some smaller events since module one.” Mr Flood has also begun planning a training program for young people aimed at enhancing their farming knowledge and skills with on-farm training. He is also mentoring young farmers who are keen to learn more about the industry.

“I get just as big a kick out of helping young people reach their dreams as I do putting deals together. It’s not just about me,” Peter said. Ms Steel said that Peter Flood’s efforts in helping younger farmers means that successful farmers, such as Peter, pass on their ‘tools of the trade’ for others to benefit from. On a personal note, Mr Flood enjoyed the people he met and the networking opportunities that arose from the EDP.

“I enjoyed hearing other participant’s stories and the presentations of others that were in the finals. Like me, they have all made amazing changes to their lives and businesses through participating in the EDP. “We are all now friends,” he said. The networking opportunities that arise from being in a room with like-minded people, has always been one of the most important and valuable contributions that the EDP gives to participants, Ms Steel said. Peter Flood was presented with the prize for best management project by Neil Dobbin, group executive Rural Banking for Rabobank Australia and New Zealand, at a graduation dinner for participants and their partners.

Often referred to as a ‘mini MBA’, the EDP is run in two modules held nine months apart. As part of the program, each participant undertakes a self-designed management project in the break between modules, applying the business and management skills they gained from the first module to their own business, with the aim of obtaining tangible results.

Rabobank Australia & 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 and has a AAA credit rating from Moody’s and Standard & Poor.

Rabobank operates in 43 countries, servicing the needs of more than nine million clients worldwide through a network of more than 1500 offices and branches.

Rabobank Australia & New Zealand is one of Australasia’s leading rural lenders and a significant provider of business and corporate banking and financial services to the Australasian food and agribusiness sector. The bank has 80 branches throughout Australasia.


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