Gardiner Foundation is embarking on new leadership projects in 2022 and planning is well underway.

The new projects are early initiatives to come from the Dairy Industry Leadership Strategy, launched nationally in August this year.

We have secured a partnership with Agriculture Victoria in which Gardiner will fund up to six places in the Young Farmer & New Entrants Mentoring Program. In addition we are working with Australian Dairy Farmers to promote the National Farmers Federation/Australian Rural Leadership Foundation Drought Resilience Mentoring Program which is funded through the Commonwealth Government’s Future Drought Fund. (Despite the word ‘drought’ in the title this is a future resilience building program for rural communities and is open to anyone associated with agriculture.)

The outstanding benefits of mentoring programs are that they offer extended, practical, personal and professional development. The mentoring process and relationship can contribute to self-determination, independence and confidence. The partners can work on a range of topics from fulfilling ideas, plans and tasks to reflections on their actions, thoughts, relationships, situations and challenges. The relationship offers a non-judgmental environment with a trusted person in which together they can work through ideas.

Mentors are trained to encourage, challenge and extend their mentees, leaving final decisions in the hands of the mentee, thereby building their independence and confidence and being ultimately responsible for their own actions. The collaborative approach to mentoring permits both mentor and mentee to take away insights and learnings they may not otherwise have had access to.

Through the mentoring program, Gardiner Foundation is committed to implementing the development of the mindsets and behaviours outlined in the dairy leadership strategy. These mindset and behaviours are a key contributor to cultural change and individual development.

The AgVic Young Farmer & New Entrants Mentoring Program runs over 12 months and will provide young farmers and new entrants with the opportunity to be paired with an experienced farmer or ‘mentor’ to assist them in developing skills to better manage their farm businesses, identify risks, and develop strategies to build resilience and achieve their business goals.

Through the mentorship the mentee is assisted in building professional networks, utilising trusted sources of advice and information, developing their leadership capabilities in working with others, and developing competency in setting business goals and assessing risks.

Each mentee is paired with a mentor whose experience aligns with the mentee’s enterprise and personal development goals. The mentoring partners are supported by a farm business consultant throughout the program which runs for a period of 12 months. All parties work together to arrange regular catch ups to track the progress of the mentee.

The NFF/ ARLF Drought Resilience Leaders Mentoring Program runs over six months and brings together farmers and people with a close connection to the agriculture sector to share trusted advice and provide support to help tackle challenges and maximise opportunities associated with climate science, wellbeing, business and agricultural practice.

The program pairs farmers, as well as people working in agriculture and the rural sector, with experienced mentors. They will work through a series of six virtual mentoring sessions, to address topics and issues related to their specific goals and needs.

It is fully funded as part of the Government’s Future Drought Fund initiative and is as simple as a ‘virtual chat’ to share knowledge, work towards goals, help solve problems and seek support and advice. At the end of the sessions, participants will become part of ARLF’s national alumni network providing ongoing access to resources and networks.

The program is designed to share knowledge and build drought and climate resilience in rural communities throughout Australia.