Strong outlook bolsters need for upskilled young farmers

WHILE Australia’s agricultural sector is set for a good year, strong business management skills are needed if farmers are to capitalise, according to the head of Rabobank.
Strong outlook bolsters need for upskilled young farmers Strong outlook bolsters need for upskilled young farmers Strong outlook bolsters need for upskilled young farmers Strong outlook bolsters need for upskilled young farmers Strong outlook bolsters need for upskilled young farmers

Australian farming is forecast to have a strong 2017, putting pressure on young farmers to capitalise on the bullish outlook.

Alex Paull

Rabobank Australia CEO Peter Knoblanche said there has rarely been a better time to be in agriculture. 

Knoblanche’s bullish sentiment is largely due to key factors including the projected rise in global economic growth and strong commodity prices for most livestock and crops.

“This has translated into strong investment activity within the sector, and it is those farmers with astute business management skills who are better equipped to capitalise on these opportunities,” Knoblanche said.

Designed to strengthen the operational and strategic skills of emerging farmers, the annually-held Farm Managers Program covers topics including global trends in agriculture, business planning, financial management, leadership and succession planning. 

Announcing the opening of applications for this year’s Farm Managers Program this week for young farmers, Knoblanche said, there was no better time for the younger generation to develop their business and leadership skills.

But Knoblanche said it wouldn’t be all smooth sailing, with uncertainties on global economic and regulatory fronts.

He said the appetite amongst farmers to improve their skills and knowledge, particularly around the adoption of emerging technologies, was strong.

A recent Rabobank survey of 1000 Australian farmers, conducted by Rabobank, found 34 per cent of respondents were looking to upskill through education and training over the coming year.

More than half (57%) were intending to increase their knowledge around the adoption of emerging technologies.

“While young farmers are leading the way when it comes to the adoption of new technologies, the pace of change is so rapid which makes it a complex process to not only keep abreast of the new technologies but make informed decisions around which will deliver tangible benefits to the business,” Knoblanche said.

“Much of this learning comes from speaking with other farmers to see what works for them, and the Farm Managers Program provides a forum for like-minded farmers from across Australia and New Zealand and a range of agricultural sectors to come together to share ideas and best-practice.”

The program examines global trends and key influences in agriculture, with a focus on developing a range of commercial management skills to help farmers increase their resilience in this changeable environment.

With only 36 farmers accepted in this year’s intake, young progressive primary producers are urged to apply before April 13.