Rural businesses throughout the State are encouraged to register now for free farm planning workshops provided by the Department of Agriculture and Food this year.
Department Plan, Prepare and Prosper project manager Jason Moynihan said the training and support was being offered to assist rural businesses build their resilience and capacity to grow.
“A key initiative of the program is the continuation of the successful Plan, Prepare and Prosper workshops that were implemented by the department as part of the WA Pilot of Drought Reform Measures,” Mr Moynihan said.
“The five-day workshop series is developed to provide participants with the skills and confidence to improve their long-term financial viability and build skills in strategic business planning.”
Through the drought pilot, more than 2000 have people participated in the workshops, developing a better understanding of business finances, managing seasonal condition variations and work-life balance.
Mark and Catherine Scott, from Nannup, participated in the five-day workshop last year, developing a strategic plan for their stone, pome and citrus fruit orchard and cattle production business.
Mr Scott said his participation in the Plan, Prepare and Prosper workshop was reassuring and confirmed his business was achieving targets.
“It was great to develop a business plan. Putting on paper the plans we had talked about gave us confidence that we’re headed in the right direction,” Mr Scott said
“Sometimes it’s hard to know how you’re tracking but the benchmarking aspect of the workshop gave us a better idea of where we sit in the industry.”
The Burton family from ‘Oldfields’, 25 kilometres east of Ravensthorpe, participated in the five-day workshop in 2010 at a time when they were looking to expand their grain and sheep business. They are now about to take possession of 800 hectares to help realise their plans.
Andy Burton said the workshop gave him and his wife, Helen, greater confidence to go ahead with the investment.
“The strategic plan we developed provided us with a clear direction. It helped to put in a timeline to make sure we got things done. In a sense, the plan made our goals appear more achievable and it has made us more accountable,” Mr Burton said.
In response to participant feedback, a new one-day Refresher workshop and a Planning for Profit workshop are now included in the farm planning suite.
“The Plan, Prepare and Prosper one-day Refresher workshop is suitable for people who have completed the five-day workshop and incorporates training in negotiation skills and calculating return on investments,” Mr Moynihan said.
“Around 70 rural businesses have already taken part in the Refresher workshop over the past few months, with positive feedback.”
This year, the workshops have been extended to rural businesses in the Kimberley, with workshops to be held throughout the State, subject to minimum numbers, starting in February.
Another initiative, the Planning for Profit workshop, assists growers discover the most effective way to increase profit by addressing their key profit drivers of price, production, business and operating costs.
People interested in participating in the free workshops and those who have already submitted an expression of interest, are encouraged to complete a registration form.
More information and registration forms are available on the department website at agric.wa.gov.au by searching ‘workshops’, phoning freecall 1800 198 231 or emailing email@example.com
Photo caption: The Burton family is using farm management workshops to help secure their farm business.
Media contacts: Jodie Thomson/Lisa Bertram, media liaison +61 8 9368 3937