New skills provide great future outlook – Doug Druce
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New skills provide great future outlook – Doug Druce

Category Business Management Programs

Doug Druce BMP alumni

During the grip of one of Australia’s most challenging droughts, Nevertire’s Doug Druce also recognised opportunity, and used the farming downtime gaining valuable skills to ensure his farm can go from strength to strength now the season has turned.

A young and enthusiastic next generation farmer, Doug graduated from Rabobank’s Farm Managers Program in 2018 and said the skills gained reinforced the fact that the operation must operate as a business, rather than just a ‘farm’.

“I got an enormous amount out of the farm business side of the program, particularly looking at business strategy, returns on equity and how to evaluate the business,” he said. “I had a general grasp before, but now when it comes to sitting down with my accountant or bank manager I have a far greater understanding and it’s much easier to come up with formulas and crunch the numbers.”

Doug joined his parents on the family’s mix farming operation, “Idlewilde” Nevertire, plus property in the Warren district, two years after finishing school.

And although he spent those two years post-school working in the Northern Territory on a cattle property, he admits that as he didn’t go to ag college or university, embarking on as many courses as possible was now a priority, and crucial to broaden his skills and knowledge.

“We run Dorper sheep, trade lambs and cattle, winter cereal cropping and cotton, so there are a number of elements to the business, and having a sound understanding of its structure is so important.”

Succession was also a program topic he found extremely useful, with the family yet to formally begin the process.

“I now have a much greater understanding of how we should approach succession, and an effective evaluation of the business to base our conversation around. I also have a newfound appreciation for the questions and topics we should be covering when we do sit down together to ensure the process is as streamlined as possible,” Doug said.

The networking opportunities gained from the Farm Managers Program were also beneficial, Doug said, and thanks to the ‘inspirational’ cohort he completed the program with- and whom he said were so generous with their knowledge – he’s now brimming with ideas to generate extra income.

“It’s so insightful – and inspirational – to see what other producers are doing, and it really feels like the farmers who do this course are particularly progressive. To have that snapshot of other people’s business is so unique and valuable.”

“One of the lecturers was also a business adviser – which was a concept I hadn’t considered for the farm, and I’ve since done a lot of research on business coaches and think it would be a great benefit to help ensure our business growth and engagement,” Doug said.

“Farms really are unique businesses, so to have the opportunity to do this course – which is tailored specifically for farming businesses – is brilliant.”    

Whilst the recent widespread drought limited the Druce’s growth since Doug embarked on the Farm Managers Program, this year the business enjoyed a bumper winter cropping harvest – with yields, protein and prices all aligning for one of the best seasons to date. 

And with the season having now turned, Doug is grateful that he invested the time when things were quiet, so he can hit the ground running now the property is ‘back in the game’.

“The Farm Managers Program gave me a great grounding to take the business forward, and now that it’s rained I’m really excited to have a good crack at making this operation the best that it can be thanks to my newfound knowledge and skills,” Doug said.

To find out more about the Rabobank Business Management Programs click here

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