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Victorian farmers participate in Rabobank’s international alumni tour

Twenty-one farmers from across Australia and New Zealand – including a group of Victorian primary producers – have recently spent three days visiting agribusiness operations across New Zealand’s Hawke’s Bay region on the Rabobank Business Management Program (BMP) alumni tour.

The tour – one of the several events being held this year to celebrate 25 years of Rabobank’s Business Management Programs – was attended by nine program alumni from Australia and 12 from New Zealand and took in visits to a range of leading agricultural operations.

The two Rabobank BMPs –– the Executive Development Program (EDP) for farm business owners or senior managers and the Farm Managers Program (FMP) for up and-coming farmers – are run annually by Rabobank with the aim of equipping farmers with the latest in business management thinking.

More than 1300 of Australia and New Zealand’s most progressive farmers have so far graduated from Rabobank’s Business Management Programs over the past 25 years, with alumni events for past participants held on a regular basis in locations across New Zealand and Australia.

The Victorian farmers – who travelled from Elmhurst, Skipton and Oxley – visited six agribusiness operations on the latest alumni tour, including horticultural producer Apatu Farms, beef operators Newstead Farm and Rissington Station, snack-sized apple producer Rockit Apples, agricultural education training institute Smedley Station, and dairy farming business Springhill Dairies.

Oxley-based beef producer and BMP alumni, Dane Martin said “the tour was a fantastic opportunity to reconnect with past program alumni”.

“The chance to visit other farming businesses was both exciting and provocative – it gets you thinking about new ideas you can bring home to your business,” he said.

Mr Martin said one of the highlights of the tour was learning how the next generation of farmers are being embraced via a cadetship program at Smedley Station.

“Through visiting some innovative beef businesses, we were able to deepen our understanding of genetics and genomics – which was valuable,” he said. “We also learned about on-farm forestry projects, creating the option to inset carbon, which could be a useful tool for Australian farming businesses.”

Business Management Program Director Robin Stonecash said the alumni tour exemplified the camaraderie of the BMPs.

“Participants from across the years and programs quickly became friends. The theme of this year’s alumni tour was resilience – in the face of Cyclone Gabrielle for the Hawke’s Bay region and highlighted how the farms and businesses we saw came together to help each other through,” she said.

“To see the devastation of such a beautiful and bountiful region was heartbreaking, but it was uplifting to see and hear how everyone has worked together to restore their community.

“We also learned about some extraordinary businesses who are utilising their land in the best way with an eye on sustainability, ensuring productivity for future generations. This is the strength of people who come on the EDP and the FMP – the ability to share knowledge and experience, make friends, challenge and support each other. And I am very proud to be able to contribute to this through my role with the BMPs.”




Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Group is a part of the international Rabobank Group, the world’s leading specialist in food and agribusiness banking. Rabobank has more than 120 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 38 countries, servicing the needs of approximately 8.4 million clients worldwide through a network of more than 1000 offices and branches. Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Group is one of Australasia’s leading agricultural lenders and a significant provider of business and corporate banking and financial services to the region’s food and agribusiness sector. The bank has 90 branches throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Media contacts:

Denise Shaw
Head of Media Relations
Rabobank Australia & New Zealand
Phone: 02 8115 2744 or 0439 603 525
Email: denise.shaw@rabobank.com

Will Banks
Media Relations Manager
Rabobank Australia
Phone: 0418 216 103
Email: will.banks@rabobank.com