Business EDGE courses kicking-off in southern states

Jon Condon January 30, 2017

Northern Australia’s successful BusinessEDGE workshop format will be extended into southern states this year, aimed at expanding business skills and financial literacy among cattle and sheep producers.

Aussie One Dollar CoinsA numbers of southern states Beef Central readers recently commented on an article flagging upcoming BusinessEDGE courses in Queensland, regretting the fact that’s such courses are not offered in southern states.

That’s about to change; however, with content for a specialised southern Business EDGE course program now completed and being rolled out for all meat producers — beef and sheep — during the first half of this year.

The industry’s BusinessEDGE workshops have been a popular learning tool for northern cattle producers for the past seven years.

The two-day intensive courses deliver the knowledge and skills to compile and understand key financial information on a grazing business; assess and manage business risk; and understand and manage enterprise performance, including understanding what the key profit drivers are, how to influence them and what effect they have on overall business performance.

Comprehensive course notes are provided, along with decision support spreadsheet tools to help participants apply the material to their business. Follow up is available to all participants.

Content for the southern version of the course is loosely based on the northern version, but tailored for southern production systems and more mixed beef/sheep enterprises. A number of pilot courses were held last year in Victoria, Tasmania and NSW to refine to content for the southern market.

Consultant Phil Holmes wrote the original BusinessEDGE course for northern beef producers six years ago and, in conjunction with Bush Agribusiness director Ian McLean, has modified the content to have specific relevance to southern Australia.

“Accounting and business principles are the same regardless of where your livestock business is based, but the workshop material has been modified to suit southern businesses which often comprise more than one enterprise,” Dr Holmes said.

Prudent and proper debt management is another important part of the course. Evidence suggests that most producers do not understand how to use debt productively for long-term wealth creation. Too often, it just becomes an anchor on the performance of the business.

Understanding the key profit drivers for the whole business, the herd and the flock, and how to allocate capital in a rational manner for a better return on the investment is also an important part of the workshop program. Prompted by the demand from producers seeking to increase their business management skills, MLA has facilitated the expansion of the Business EDGE workshops to suit southern producers.

Recruited to deliver the BusinessEDGE workshops in southern states are:

  • John Francis from Holmes & Sackett, who will present the courses in NSW
  • Simon Vogt from Rural Directions, who will deliver courses in South Australia, and
  • Adrian Kennelly from RMCG, who will deliver in Victoria and Tasmania.

One of the presenters, Victoria’ Adrian Kennelly, said being a new program to the region, some of the early Business EDGE courses in his state were likely to directed through established producer groups, including Better Beef from Pasture and Best Wool, Best Lamb groups.

“Once we get a couple under the belt, we expect it will take off by word of mouth – but the key is to get the first few done,” he said.

“While the southern course is now fully-developed and ready to go, it’s still a matter of continuous improvement, and will be refined over time, to suit local producer needs, and as different issues come up.”

Typical Business Edge group sizes are 6-12, large enough to encourage interaction and discussion, but not too large to become harder to handle.

Producers are encouraged to contact the course providers below, if they are keen to participate in a workshop this year






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