FREE BUSINESS WORKSHOPS FOR FARMERS
WORKSHOPS MAKE LINK BETWEEN ECOSYSTEM HEALTH AND BUSINESS HEALTH
There is no taipan in your office – that’s the first message for Far Northern graziers in new workshops on the fundamentals of business management.
“The office is the last place a lot of primary producers want to be,’’ RCS farm business analyst David McLean says. “But that can change when you know more about how to look under the hood of a business.”
Farming families are taking a free course on Sustainable Resources and Business Management, offered by natural resource management organisation Terrain NRM as part of two land management projects in the Tablelands and Innisfail regions.
Kairi grazier Kellie Evans says the course is a natural sequel to others focused on improving soil health and adopting natural grazing practices.
“Soil health and holistic grazing changes are one part of a transition – we also need to be monitoring whether our on-farm changes make financial sense,’’ she said. “We all have farm records and basic accounting practices. This is about combining records into meaningful data.”
She says it has been an eye-opener for her family’s farming business.
“We’re looking at things a bit differently. It’s like an internal audit – breaking things down to monitor each part of our enterprise and put a dollar figure on it, from soil health to cattle production. That way we can more accurately work out what our best options are for the long-term, from carrying capacity to things like fodder crops.
“I’m not the greatest bookkeeper – I prefer to hide out with the cows – so I’m getting a lot out of it.”
Mr McLean said integrating soil health and ecology with production and economics showed the clear link between ecosystem health and profitability.
“Better decisions for the land are usually the result when landholders analyse their businesses and have all the information in front of them to make sound financial decisions,’’ he said.
“When we feel under pressure financially, quite often we work our country too hard as a result and this creates a downward spiral for land and business. This course is designed to stop that happening.”
The course is part of Terrain NRM’s Upper Johnstone Integrated Project, funded through the Queensland Government’s Natural Resources Investment Program, and the Herbert River Gully and Grazing Program funded by the Australian Government through its Reef Trust Phase IV program.
Both projects are focused on working with landholders to repair erosion, improve the land and reduce the amount of sediment flowing to the Great Barrier Reef.
TOP TIPS FOR LANDHOLDERS
Keep it simple – continuously plan, monitor and manage your financials. Make sure both your income and expenditure are considered. Monitor actual performance to analyse your budgets.
Strongly link the paddock and the office. Cattle numbers, what’s changed and why are just as important in the office as in the paddock.