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Dairying Women Want Greater ROI From Professional Advisors

19 March

Dairying Women Want Greater ROI From Professional Advisors

The Dairy Women’s Network will work with hundreds of dairying women across the country in April, helping them to increase the return on their investment on rural professional advice.

Dairy Women’s Network chief executive Sarah Speight said dairy farmers spend an average of $4,000 annually for advice from rural professionals (Reference, Ministry of Primary Industries, Farm Monitoring Report 2012 – Pastoral Monitoring: National Dairy) and the Network wants to help ensure this is money well spent.

“Dairying women and their partners want to get the best return possible on the money and time they are investing in rural professional advice. They want to see a demonstrable return on their operation’s bottom line – whether that’s in the short or long term - or it’s money down the drain.

“Our April series of workshops will help dairying women understand how to get the best out of agri-business advisors and gain that valuable return,” she explained.

The Dairy Women’s Network is hosting the workshops at 10 venues throughout the North and South Islands.

“To make sure you are getting the best value out of your investment it makes good sense to question how you are working with all your advisors to check that their advice is still aligned to your business goals. To do that well you need to understand the role of the advisor and know how to get your advisory team working together for your benefit,” said Mrs Speight.

She added that the industry is getting more and more savvy about agribusiness management, citing the recent initiative by DairyNZ, AgITO and Waikato-based tertiary institute provider Wintec to encourage hundreds of dairy farmers each year to complete the National Diploma in Agribusiness Management.

Workshop facilitators Rebecca Warburton and Annabel Craw are seasoned agri-business professionals and farmers with more than 20 years’ experience between them advising on finances, business plans and farm practices.

Mrs Warburton has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Agriculture and has worked in the agricultural sector all her professional life, including roles in shepherding, farm consultancy and rural banking.

She is currently an independent consultant, helping farmers develop a greater understanding of their businesses by monitoring, benchmarking and analysing both physical and financial drivers. She said her goal is to teach farmers to use these tools independently to optimise their decision making.

Mrs Warburton said this would not be a workshop where you will sit back and get talked at.

“There will be talking and plenty of it, however you will work on your own business plan and this is a great opportunity to spend a few hours creating tangible value for your farm.

“By the end of the day you will have a greater understanding of the opportunities that exist in your business, and have a plan that ensures your advisors are being used effectively in areas relevant to your business.”

Annabel Craw is also an agricultural business developer, mother and farmer who has spent her career helping other farmers build financial and business capability.

She graduated from Lincoln University with a Bachelor of Commerce and was in the first intake of DairyNZ undergraduate scholars. She has been involved in extension and development roles including a Consulting Officer in mid-Canterbury, contributing to the development of DairyBase and presenting a paper on Irrigation Efficiency at the South Island Dairy Event (SIDE).

Mrs Craw said farmers need to think of business advisors as people they employ, and take control of the relationship.

“Rather than waiting for the advisor to tell you where the opportunities lie in your business, know your business well and tell your professionals where the opportunities lie so that they can help you take it to the next level. In the same way you would with your on-farm employees.”

Mrs Craw said the workshop included a ‘dare to compare’ scenario where participants would be asked to think like a banker to identify what else they would want to know about a fictional farm. She said the scenario would help people get comfortable with looking at farm information and then start relating the experience to their own farms.

The workshop would also discuss the barriers to building relationships with advisors, such as women not historically being viewed as a primary decision maker, and finding solutions to address those barriers. She added the workshop would provide practical tools and skills for goal setting, business planning and benchmarking to identify where professional advice can help, including setting a clear brief for the whole business advisory team.

“We want dairying women to have the confidence to ask the right questions when they are working with their advisors and really get involved because the opportunities that can be created from doing this can be so beneficial to the business. People will leave this workshop with a clear plan of how to use their advisors more effectively.”

The workshops start on 3 April in the Waikato in the north and the West Coast in the south, and finish a week later on 11 April in the Manuwatu and Southland regions. For a complete schedule of the Getting Value from Your Business Advisors Dairy Days visit or phone 0800 396 748.


Locations and dates for Dairy Days April 2013
Waikato: Wednesday, 3 April, No 1 Motels on Victoria, 89 Victoria Street, Cambridge
West Coast: Wednesday, 3 April, St Johns Hokitika, 134 Stafford Street, Hokitika

Northland: Thursday, 4 April, BNZ Partners - Whangarei Business Centre, Level 1, 57 Bank Street, Whangarei

Nelson/Marlborough: Thursday, 4 April, Seifrieds Vineyard Restaurant & Conference Centre, 184 Redwood Road, SH60 Appleby, Nelson

Bay of Plenty: Tuesday, 9 April, Best Western Braeside Resort, 4 Barnard Road, Ngongataha, Rotorua

Canterbury: Tuesday, 9 April, Ashburton Motor Lodge & Conference Centre, 507-509 West Street, SH1, Ashburton

Taranaki: Wednesday, 10 April, Shakee Pear Cafe and Function Rooms, 3912 Mountain Road, Stratford

North Otago/South Canterbury: Wednesday, 10 April, North Otago Club, Cnr Itchen and Tees Streets, Oamaru,

Manuwatu/Wanganui/Wairarapa: Thursday, 11 April, Rangitiki Club, 10 Bowen Street, Feilding

Southland: Thursday, 11 April, Invercargill Workingmen's Club Inc, 154 Esk Street, Invercargill


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