Monday, 20 October 2014 12:33

Upskill to cope with less

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FARMERS’ PROBLEMS  caused by the drop in Fonterra’s forecast milk solid payout are best tackled head-on with agribusiness management training, says Primary ITO, which offers courses in this discipline.

The need is urgent to review and revise budgets and monitor cashflow to ensure debt levels don’t rise unnecessarily.  Spending cuts, increasing milk production and generally improving onfarm performance are among the options.


Primary ITO’s Diploma in Agribusiness Management supports farmers in honing their business management skills to manage risks like a volatile payout and take control of their business.  

Key subjects include business and finance, where students learn to develop and monitor financial plans, monitor on-farm performance against objectives, and develop a budget to share with their bank manager or accountant, are all directly applicable to the farmer’s own business.  

Cath Blake, manager of Dairy Training Ltd, says cashflow budget development and implementation are vital. “The skills farmers gain by completing the Diploma in Agribusiness assist in managing financial risk…. This financial capability helps farmers to look to the goals of the business and gives long term confidence in the dairy industry.”

Staff costs can also be a point of contention when budgets are tightened.  Staff may be let go or professional development and training costs cut.

Mark Paine, DairyNZ strategy and investment leader (people and business) says recruiting the right staff and keeping staff motivated can mean staff turnover is reduced.  

“The cost of staff turnover to the dairy industry is about $300 million per year. If we can hold onto our good staff, this can lead to better business performance.”

The Diploma in Agribusiness Management includes human resource management as a key subject, and supports farmers’ staff development.  Farmers learn how better to recruit, select and induct staff, and build good working relationships and assess performance.  

The Agribusiness Diploma is a collaborative project between Primary ITO, DairyNZ, Beef and Lamb New Zealand and HortNZ. Studies are open to farmers, growers and agribusiness operators.

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