A new angle on extension services

May 7, 2019

Terrain NRM has appointed an agribusiness extension officer in preparation for a new “Reef Credits” scheme.

The market-based system enables land managers making changes to reduce nutrient, pesticide or sediment run-off to the Great Barrier Reef, to sell these ecosystem services or ‘Reef Credits’ to investors.

Patrick McArthur is helping primary producers with business planning including investments, insurance, succession and retirement planning, general reviews of debt and ways to take advantage of upcoming opportunities.

He brings more than 20 years of banking and finance experience to the role, and will be offering his business and analytical skills to assist local producers in meeting their business and personal goals.

“Farm business planning doesn’t have to be painful. It’s really just making a roadmap to where you want to take your farming business,” said Mr McArthur.

Depending on the individual farmer and their needs, business planning might look at things like a general review of debt, investments, insurance, farm conditions, succession and retirement plans, and upcoming needs or opportunities.

Patrick can also provide business modelling support, which is a way for farmers to explore different business choices for their farm.

Agribusiness extension officer, Patrick McArthur

“Like anyone, farmers want to make informed, prudent decisions. Business modelling uses data to test different scenarios, and is a useful tool to help work out the best tailored options before implementing any actual change to the farming business.”

“The ability to maintain a rural lifestyle and successful agricultural industry is vitally important. An ecosystem service payment puts a value on the effort required of someone to do something of benefit to the environment.”

“Reef Credits are a tradeable unit representing a quantifiable amount of nutrient, pesticide or sediment that has been prevented from entering the GBR catchment. It is just one tool in a bigger toolbox that can lead to better water quality outcomes, whilst still allowing the landholder to generate income,” he said.

“And just like the rest of the stuff in the toolbox, it’s up to farmers to make an assessment as to whether it would suit them and their specific personal circumstances.”

Patrick can be contacted on 0412 719 392 or email patrick.mcarthur@terrain.org.au