Rabobank's farmer graduates celebrate

Photos: Rabobank's top farmer talent graduates from executive program

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Interim general manager for Rabobank, New Zealand, with executive development program graduate and winner of the Dr john Morris business development prize, dairy farmer, Bonita Koch, Tongala, Victoria.

Interim general manager for Rabobank, New Zealand, with executive development program graduate and winner of the Dr john Morris business development prize, dairy farmer, Bonita Koch, Tongala, Victoria.

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Australian and New Zealand graduates, partners and other guests have marked the 20th anniversary of the Rabobank farm business training program in Sydney.

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Rabobank's executive development program has marked its 20th birthday with this year's class of 2018-19 graduation involving participants from a wide array of trans-Tasman farming industries.

The 22nd EDP course cohort, made up of 22 Australian graduates and eight New Zealanders, was joined by partners and other guests at a dinner at Balmoral in Sydney.

Unsurprisingly, resilience and finding different directions to tackle farming's current challenges were common background themes for many participants this year, according to program director, Robin Stonecash.

Dinner host and Rabobank's NZ interim country banking general manager, Bruce Weir, agreed farmers in both countries were experiencing a lot of complex challenges - not just the weather.

But all producers, particularly those capable of being top performers, owed it to the next generation to meet the seasonal and production challenges head-on with innovative and proactive thinking.

"Be aware, a lot of young people are looking to you to be reassured about agriculture's success and the career roles they can play in future years," he said.

Himself a past EDP graduate, Mr Weir, was confident the training and shared business experiences gained during the course would prove "truly life changing" for participants and their farming strategies.

Interestingly, this year's Rabobank farm management development program, which largely focuses on training employees in the sector, had been oversubscribed by (mostly young) applicants.

This year's course will be run at Christchurch in NZ in spring.

Graduates from the latest executive program were drawn from industry backgrounds as diverse as cotton, dairy, grain and fruit packing to organic vegetable cropping and goat meat production.

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