Dairy Australia continues to equip dairy farmers to plan for their futures with the farm performance initiative Our Farm, Our Plan.
Designed to help farmers identify long-term goals, improve business performance and manage volatility, Our Farm, Our Plan was developed by Dairy Australia, with support from Gardiner Dairy Foundation and DairyNZ.
- Dairy Australia introduces program to help farmers achieve long-term goals
- Dairy farmers using new planning process to help set goals
Our Farm, Our Plan uses a simple Now, Where, How, Review planning process and provides one-on-one support for farmers over two years to assist them to put their plan in place and into action.
By involving all key decision-makers in a farm business, Our Farm, Our Plan is designed to equip farmers to prioritise where they will put their effort, clarify their long-term business and personal goals, identify actions needed to achieve goals, and to better manage uncertainty and risk.
"Long-term goal setting and business planning have never been more important for Australia's dairy farmers," Dairy Australia's farm performance lead Neil Webster said.
"Everyone has plans in their head - getting them down on a page means they're understood and owned by the key people in a farm business.
"In most cases, this is a couple but might include other family members or business partners.
"The process helps everyone in the team to be on the same page with a clear plan that can be shared, communicated and measured.
"We hope all farms will give it a go."
Dairy Australia has launched a campaign to raise awareness of Our Farm, Our Plan across the country.
With the tagline 'Have you got your game plan?' farmers are urged to enrol in the program.
The campaign will run across larger agricultural print publications, online advertising and social media.
For more information on Our Farm, Our Plan and how to get started, go to www.dairyaustralia.com.au/ofop or contact the regional team.
Future looks bright for Timboon farmers
Farmers like Julia and Derek Gale, Timboon, Vic, have found the Our Farm, Our Plan initiative fantastic for their long-term planning.
"When WestVic Dairy told us about Our Farm, Our Plan we were very interested," Mrs Gale said.
"We have three young boys who are very keen on farming so being able to plan for ours and their future provided a clear pathway for what eventual succession looked like.
"We've started saving money better, and it let me see there was more than just 'plan A and B'. It's not just about planning for tomorrow, but planning for next month, next year and even the next decade."
While it's easy to put off some of the larger jobs, Our Farm, Our Plan helped the Gales find focus and progress some long-term achievements.
"Sitting down and actually working out what we want to achieve this year was important," Mrs Gale said.
"We kept putting off installing new water pipes on the farm but having it all written down really pushed us to get it sorted.
"Our Farm, Our Plan saved us time and money in the long run and allowed us to focus on the jobs that just needed to get over the line."
Locking in long-term goals
Phil and Nicole Lock, also of Timboon, Vic, found similar success after using Our Farm, Our Plan.
The program has allowed them to expand their business and provide confidence when making decisions. "We bought an extra 300 acres last year and had to plan out how to integrate that into our business and home farm that we've had for 20 years," Mr Lock said.
"Our Farm, Our Plan gave us a way to move ahead. We had a map of the whole farm, and are in the process of implementing water, track and fences that will work in with our future goals, which may include a new dairy and other infrastructure."
Mr Lock said using Our Farm, Our Plan had saved them time and money. "It encouraged us to get more efficient in how we manage our farm and have clear long-term goals to work towards," he said.
Mrs Lock said: "It allowed us to understand the timeframes involved and be smart about our specific goals.
"It's a living document that allows you to return to your plan and see how you're tracking on your goals and alter them as your business, life and priorities change."
Mrs Lock is excited about the future of the farm and how it looks for our family. "It helps us be on the same page with where the business is going, and what it may look like down the track," she said.
Our Farm, Our Plan available around Australia
Our Farm, Our Plan is supported by an extension program that is delivered around the country by Dairy Australia's regional teams.
Workshops can be organised for existing groups, like local dairy farmer discussion groups, and can be in-person or online.
Farmers participating receive follow-up one-on-one sessions with experienced dairy advisers over 24 months as part of the program.
For more information go to dairyaustralia.com.au/OFOP or contact the regional team.
DairyBase Budgeting helps with forward planning
DairyBase Budgeting assists farmers with forward planning by enabling forward estimates of farm business performance.
Since its launch in 2015, DairyBase has gained 2500 users and generated more than 12,000 data sets, providing Australian dairy farmers with a unique opportunity to analyse and benchmark their farm performance by region and farm type.
With the new budgeting feature, farmers can adjust financial parameters, such as milk income, the cost of fodder and water, and the number of livestock - and receive useful estimates of what their operating cash surplus will be at the end of a year.
For more information visit dairyaustralia.com.au/dairybase.
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