On the same page in Jamberoo

Dairy farmers using new planning process to help set goals

Business Management
PLAN ON A PAGE: Emma and Nick Strong with the Our Farm, Our Plan single-page plan on the wall in their office.

PLAN ON A PAGE: Emma and Nick Strong with the Our Farm, Our Plan single-page plan on the wall in their office.

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Taking part in Our Farm, Our Plan has got Emma and Nick Strong on the same page about their long-term goals, both business and lifestyle goals.

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Taking part in Our Farm, Our Plan has got Emma and Nick Strong on the same page about their long-term goals, both business and lifestyle goals.

"We got involved because we wanted to clarify where we want to head and set goals together," Mr Strong said.

"The workshops were good. We were able to share ideas with other farmers, and Emma and I learned that we weren't on the same page about everything, so it was good to get lined up. We got to understand a bit about why we react to things the way we do - we are different".

Milking 450 cows near Jamberoo in NSW, the Strongs are good planners, setting up quarterly operational plans that are reviewed regularly.

"We have the 'plan on a page' that we developed through Our Farm, Our Plan on the wall, along with our quarterly plan," Mrs Strong said.

"We like to be planned, and need to be, to run a good farm."

Working through the workshops has given the Strongs a bigger vision and clarity about their long-term goals. "We definitely now work on the business more knowing that what we're doing every day is actually getting us a step closer to achieving our goals. That gives us a lot of satisfaction" Mr Strong said.

He thinks all dairy farmers can benefit from Our Farm, Our Plan. "The approach has made us both think more broadly about the whole farm and understand each other's point of view," he said.

"I think it's more of a team effort now and we're getting towards our goals quicker.

"Putting the plan on a page was the key thing. We work well when we know what we need to do and checking back helps us. Ticking off things that we've already done is motivating and gives us a sense of achievement.

Mrs Strong said it was definitely worth the time to go to the workshops and get off farm. "For us it allowed us to regroup and rethink what we're trying to achieve," she said.

"I think any farm, no matter what stage they're at, can come into this program and, as a team, work out where they want to head and feel more in control."

Nick said he would recommend the program to other farmers. "When we grow up on a farm most of us are not really taught how to run a business," he said.

"We're taught a lot of skills about farming but the business side is probably harder or not talked about as much".

Mrs Strong said the 1:1 follow up through Our Farm, Our Plan had been beneficial. "Having a session that focused on where we were heading was great," she said.

"It also made us accountable and the extra set of eyes and another opinion about our plans was valuable."

So does being on the same page mean you agree about everything? The Strongs laughed. "No, but it means you can have the right conversations about your long term goals and how you're going to achieve them. Having it there in front of you makes a massive difference. We both had ideas in our heads, but now we can see them. We're definitely on the same page now and we can see that we're on the same page, track our progress, reset it if needed and share it with other people."

For more information about Our Farm, Our Plan go to www.dairyaustralia.com.au/OFOP.

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