Monday, April 22, 2024

Workshop to hone farmers’ financial skills

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Twenty-four farmers from across the central North Island have spent a day developing their financial skills for managing farming operations at the inaugural Rabobank Financial Skills workshop in Taupō.
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An initiative of Rabobank’s Client Councils – groups of the bank’s farming clients who meet regularly to discuss issues and implement initiatives to contribute to sustainable rural communities – the free workshop was the first of a series, with further events set to be rolled out across the country over coming months.

Held late last month, the workshop was facilitated by Lawrence Field from Rural Field Consultants and included sessions on financial skills, reading financial statements, key

ratios and calculations and what banks are looking for when assessing a farming business.

Rabobank Client Council member for the upper North Island Graham Law says the workshop was developed by the client councils to enhance farmers’ financial literacy skills and advance their agricultural careers.

“Farm financial statements are one of the most useful, yet least-used reports for farming businesses,” Law said.

Course participants travelled to the event from a wide catchment area and included Janelle and Lance Downs, who run a sheep and beef farming operation in Eastern Taranaki. Janelle described the workshop as “fantastic”.

“Given we make the decisions on our farm as a couple, it really was so valuable to get away from the farm for the day to take in the same information and develop our

understanding of financial reporting together,” she said.

“The session where we looked at farming operations from a banker’s perspective was hugely beneficial and we now have a much better feel for what sort of information a bank manager is looking for and why they want it.”

Janelle says the workshop had prompted the couple to spend more time thinking about the long-term strategic direction of their business.

“Following our attendance at the workshop, we’ve had a whole bunch of in-depth conversations about our plans for the next five, 10 to 15 years, and we’re now setting much more time aside for strategic planning than we did previously,” she said.

Funded by Rabobank’s Client Councils, the New Zealand workshops are open to clients and non-clients of Rabobank and there is no cost for participants to attend.

The next round of workshops will take place in Otago and Southland, with dates now confirmed for workshops in Gore (August 10), Balclutha (August 11) and Naseby (August 12).

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