June 27, 2012
Increased personal development and self-investment has paid dividends for Central Queensland farmer Ben Jarvis – winner of Rabobank's prestigious 2012 Farm Managers Program business development award.
Ben was awarded for his presentation of his personal development and business plan where he proved that by investing in himself as well as improving his business management practices his farming operation benefited.
Mr Jarvis said his experiences undertaking the program were 'life-changing'.
"The Program reinforced how important it is to set and maintain your goals – on the personal side of things and the business side," Ben said.
"By tweaking a few things, changing my approach towards certain things, I had really started to notice how the small things can make a difference.
"I really applied myself to develop a business management plan aimed at reducing costs, increasing efficiencies and reducing debt and these actions generated some surprising outcomes."
The Rabobank Farm Managers Program is a business management course designed to develop the operational and strategic business skills of young farmers who represent the next generation of leading farm business owners. Now in its seventh year, the 2012 Program was held in Brisbane this month, attended by 35 participants from both islands of New Zealand and all states of Australia and representing a wide range of agricultural commodities.
Ben is one of the managers of 'Liberty Fields', located in Monto, Queensland. His family business runs a 500 sow piggery and farms 200 hectares of irrigated crops and 200 hectares dry land.
After meeting his wife Kylie, Ben moved back to Monto in 2004 and bought into the family business. Ben's project is his account of the changes he has made to his farming and family life since returning from last year's Farm Managers Program. He developed a personal development plan taking into account his mental and physical health, marriage and children, family and business and personal wealth.
"I really found some self assurance and confidence in what we're doing with our business knowing we're on the right track," Ben said.
"There are plenty of challenges day-to-day working on the land especially with costs going up, but the Farm Managers Program opens you up to information you wouldn't get sticking in your own environment and we certainly walked away with a better understanding of farming and agriculture trends, and strategies around business partnerships and investments."
Ben said one of the main benefits of the program was the shared experience with 30 other like-minded, young farmers.
"It was fantastic – when you're on the land you're pretty solo, most of your mates are in the mines or in the city, so to go to a course and be among a group farmers who are passionate and very switched on – it gives you a good sense of inspiration knowing we're all in it in a similar way," Ben said.
"It's like you're in a team. Even though we're not in the same place geographically, you we're all going through the same things and I guess it just helps with your confidence and perspectives on life and business.
Rabobank business programs manager Nerida Sweetapple said Ben was awarded the 2012 Farm Managers Program prize for his initiative of developing a plan for both business management and personal management.
"The Farm Managers Program approaches management in a holistic way – to be a leader and a good manager of any business you must be able to manage yourself, manage others and manage your business – successful farmers do not threat these in isolation and the program aims to develop skills in each of these areas," Ms Sweetapple said.
"Ben's project demonstrated the importance of understanding yourself and others and its critical relationship to the success of a farming business, especially when family are involved.
"His project was about consolidation before growing and that, plus his personal account of his experiences and the resulting business gains is what set him apart from the other finalists."
Rabobank Australia & New Zealand is a part of the international Rabobank Group, the world’s leading specialist in food and agribusiness banking. Rabobank has more than 110 years’ experience providing customised banking and finance solutions to businesses involved in all aspects of food and agribusiness. Rabobank is structured as a cooperative and operates in 48 countries, servicing the needs of more than nine million clients worldwide through a network of more than 1600 offices and branches. Rabobank Australia & New Zealand is one of Australasia’s leading rural lenders and a significant provider of business and corporate banking and financial services to the region’s food and agribusiness sector. The bank has 93 branches throughout Australia and New Zealand.
Rabobank Australia & New Zealand
Phone: +61 2 8115 2744 or +61 439 603 525
Rabobank Australia & New Zealand
Phone: +61 2 8115 4861