The Farm Business Management Program is for farm owners who are looking to take their business to the next level and are willing to give back  to the dairy industry. The  program offers 10 scholarships per annum across three years. Annually  this includes one  scholarship for the Australian Rural Leadership Program (ARLP) (1 statewide), six for the University of Queensland Business School Owner-Manager Program (2 per RDP), and  three scholarships for the Rabobank Executive Development Program (1 per RDP).each farmer will be inducted into the Australian Dairy Leadership Alumni (ADLA) after graduating.

Rabobank Executive Development Program

Cath Jenkins and  Allison  Potter began the Rabobank program in August 2015, finishing in July 2016.

Ms Jenkins and  her husband, Adam, moved from Melbourne to begin dairy farming, at South Purrumbete in Western Victoria 11 years ago. They started out as  share farmers  – with no  prior experience – and now own their property with 240 cows  in a self-replacing herd and have four children at school.

“Adam and I both like to be active on and off the farm,” Ms Jenkins said. “I want to utilise this course to develop a sustainable business model to balance our on and off farm activity so we can be really good  at both.

When she heard in the course that “you need to earn the right to grow”, it hit home. “The message that you need to be profitable where you are — before you expand — is an important one,” she said.

Allison Potter and her husband, Aaron, work in a business partnership with her brother and his wife at Poowong North in Gippsland. They  started with 300 cows  in 2011, bought the farm next door two years ago and now milk 500 cows.

Ms Potter said “The  Rabobank program suited me with its two intensive weeks spread over two years and preparing a strategic management plan for the business in between”. The  program has helped her to proactive, “creating a business by design, not by default”.

“The course gives you a set of tools to get the most out of your business, particularly around setting meaningful measurable goals,”  she  said.  “Interacting with the other farmers has also given me the sense that nothing is impossible.”

UQ Business School — Owner Manager Program

Andrew and Robyn Tyler have farmed at Tongala in Northern Victoria for 26 years where they are now milking 720 cows. In July to November 2015 Andrew completed the UQ Business School Owner Manager Program.

Mr Tyler (pictured above) said that during the course “Albert Einstein’s  quote, ‘We  cannot solve  our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them’, really made me sit up and think. “Sometimes we  have  got to look  at things differently doing the course and removing myself from the day to day, gave me that opportunity.

“Being exposed to a different calibre of people and business expertise highlighted the skills that I haven’t accessed in my  business up  until now and I’ve made a commitment to seek  more professional advice.”


Australian Rural Leadership Program (ARLP)

Sally Mitchell, from Torrumbarry Northern Victoria,  was accepted into the ARLP in 2015 and begins the program in August. She and her husband are milking 500 cows on flood irrigation and  have  been farming in the area for 17 years. Ms Mitchell said it would  be a “fantastic opportunity and I am looking forward  to commencing the program and the challenges that await me in the Kimberly”.

2017 Farm Business Management Program

The next round of scholarships under the Farm Business Management Program will be offered in February 2017. Potential applicants are encouraged to start investigating these opportunities now, given the commitment required to complete these courses.

Anyone who would like to learn more can download the Farm Business Management Program brochure here, contact their local RDP or the Gardiner Dairy Foundation phone (03) 8621 2900.