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Rabobank's Tasmanian team putting farmers first

Posted by Rabobank Australia on

12/04/2024
Helen Baillie

There’s a unique camaraderie within Tasmania’s Rabobank team, underpinned by the united purpose of supporting local farmers.

With offices in Hobart, Launceston, Smithton, and Devonport, Area Manager Stuart Whatling credits this collective passion for agriculture, and local communities, for the strength and tenure of the Tasmanian team.

Helping drive Tasmanian ag

With the vast majority of the team hailing from rural backgrounds, Stuart says there are insights within the team that simply can’t be replicated.

“Across the region we have a combination of skills and expertise that contribute to a stable team, yet it’s the empathy and in-depth knowledge that comes from living and breathing agriculture every day that is so valuable when it comes to supporting our local farmers.”

With much of the region in the grip of a dry spell, he believes the affinity staff shared with clients exemplified the relationship focus of the bank.

“We’re all here to support our clients reach their goals and aspirations, through the good times and the challenges.”

Seeing their clients take advantage of Tasmania’s huge agricultural progression is, Stuart says, “what gets the whole team out of bed each day”.

“Tasmania is unique in that we’ve experienced so much development in recent decades, and there’s nothing more exciting than working hand-in-hand with our local farmers, and supporting them through significant generational change and on-farm development – particularly since the advent of a number of Tasmanian water schemes.”

Stuart said the team was also energised by the engagement in Tasmania’s ag sector from young farmers.

“We’re actively working with a large number of clients bringing the next generation into the business, and while succession can be a complex scenario to work through, particularly with rising land values, our managers are there every step of the way.”

Alternatively, he’s thrilled managers have supported a number of young share-farming clients into farm ownership, and that the team is excited by the vision and vibrancy of the region’s young farmers.

Providing support on farm, and off

Contributing to a strong industry and community is another key Rabobank value, with a number of grassroots initiatives planned for the region in the coming months.

A Rabobank Carbon Training Workshop will be held in Launceston on June 3, intended to arm local producers with the basics around carbon, and guide their first step on their journey through the completion of an individual carbon calculation.

“Tasmanian farmers leveraged our clean, green advantage well, and tend to be early adopters when it comes to sustainability and improved welfare outcomes.”

“As a result, many have enjoyed that first mover advantage, benefitting financially through market access whilst contributing to better environmental outcomes.”

As such, past Rabobank Carbon Training Workshops have been well supported, with a number of past participants now implementing their learnings on-farm, and Stuart said he’s looking forward to supporting a new cohort of Tasmanian farmers to understand the opportunities, and risks, of a reduced carbon farming future.

Financial Skills Workshops, a Rabo Client Council initiative, are also coming up in May in Devonport and Campbelltown, and provide farmers with practical, hands-on skills in understanding financial statements and banking requirements, how to budget, and what a bank requires to support growth.

“This is an excellent workshop for young, and established farmers, it will make them a better manager of their business and provide them with the tools to check they’re on track.”

With many clients having up to 15 crops in a single operation, he said having the ability to make data-based decisions was critical for producers wanting to maximising their return on assets.

“These workshops, which are free of charge and open to the whole community, give farmers the ability to financially analyse their business and their future options for growth.”

Celebrating an industry at Agfest

The whole Tasmanian team will be on-site at Agfest next month, Tasmania’s premier agricultural field day, and is looking forward to catching up with the rural community.

Agfest is an initiative spearheaded by Rural Youth, a volunteer organisation providing funding to local rural youth, and as such, Stuart said it’s an event the whole Rabobank team was very proud to support.

“It’s quite amazing what this young volunteer group has achieved, not only providing a terrific opportunity to learn and network as an industry, but also giving back so generously to the community.”

Visitors are invited to visit the Rabobank Marquee at site 733, which will enjoy a fresh new look this year.

The networking hub will include commodity updates and a team all passionate about strengthening Tasmanian farm businesses.