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Luke helping drive a strong regional future

Category Our People

Luke Harrison

Bendigo’s Luke Harrison had his compass turned inland long before the recent influx of tree-changers started making their regional pilgrimage.

And thanks to this Rabobank rural manager’s generous contributions to the local community – namely the local football club – the scores of youth surging back into the region will have no problems settling in.

Luke exemplifies the enthusiasm and ‘can-do’ attitude of rural and regional youth, committed to ensuring the vibrancy of the local community, and he said it was exciting to now see Bendigo come full-circle.

“When I was growing up in the mid 2000’s there were very few young people returning to their family farms, but recently we’ve welcomed 12 young farmers back to the district, which has contributed enormously to the social fabric of the town,” Luke said.

Further strengthening the community spirit is the Bridgewater Football Club, for which Luke is a player, and committee secretary.

“You can’t underestimate the power of sporting organisations and clubs in regional Australia, they are the lifeblood of many of our towns and I’m particularly passionate about our local football club,” he said. “I’m proud to be contributing to a community group that is able to encourage and facilitate so many new, and old, connections and provide great social and sporting opportunities – plus there’s plenty of agricultural knowledge and networking off the footy field also.”

Luke is excited by the prospect of working side by side with many of these young farmers in a professional capacity, helping the next generation grow and strengthen the region’s agriculture.

“Assisting young farmers with their financial requirements as they invest in taking the industry forward through technology and innovation is a real privilege, although no more so than supporting older farmers through their transition into retirement or downsizing. I feel really lucky to be working with clients at all stages in their careers who are so genuine and passionate.”

Having grown up on a sheep and cropping farm in the nearby Bridgewater region, and now with his own farm close by, Luke is as handy behind a mob of merino sheep as he is behind a desk.

“I think my role as a rural lending specialist definitely makes me a better farmer. I have such a broad client base – grains, livestock, horticulture, pigs, dairy – and their different business structures ensure I keep an open mind when it comes to my own business.”

Likewise, he said having his own property gave him a unique advantage when supporting other farmers across the region.

“My hands on farming experience really allows me to empathise and relate to my clients, and I think they appreciate that I’m from the area, and genuinely invested in the local agricultural sector.”

Having spent four years working in the irrigation industry before completing a Bachelor of Agriculture at Melbourne University, Luke said his move into agribanking in 2017 was a natural one.

“Agribanking offers me the best of both worlds – an opportunity to work in a professional capacity, but still be on farm, meeting with inspiring farmers, and I’ve been fortunate to work in a number of rural communities across Victoria.”

Luke moved across to Rabobank 15 months ago as a rural manager, and whilst Covid-19 has restricted much of his time to his home office, it hasn’t impacted his career development.

Recently appointed to the role of rural manager Riverina & Northern Vic, Luke now oversees clients across a broader region, including Echuca and Swan Hill, and will work internally helping support those branches also.

 “Despite the Covid-19 disruption, my transition into Rabobank has been exceptionally smooth and I’ve been welcomed by staff and clients with open arms,” he said. “At the end of the day, this is a testament to the genuine trust the bank has in the capabilities of staff – although being a local definitely helps too!”   

And once restrictions ease, this keen thrill-seeker and fisherman said he’s looking forward to busting out of his home office – with a fishing trip to the top end, and a ski trip to Queenstown, NZ, top of his list!

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