Improve your financial literacy

By Country News

Across the country, the next generation of farmers will have the opportunity to access financial literacy workshops designed to give young people a leg-up in financial management to help grow their family farming businesses.

The practical one-day Growing the Family Business seminars will be rolled out across regional Australia during the next two years with the aim to deliver the program — which is free — to 2000 up-and-coming farmers by 2020.

Locally-run and delivered in key regional locations, each workshop will include sessions by local accountants and banking professionals, as well as real-life case studies presented by farmers in the region covering topics including gross margin analysis, cash flow budgeting and interpreting financial statements, as well as identifying business opportunities and embarking on new business ventures.

Up to 40 participants will be accepted at each workshop.

An initiative of Rabobank’s Client Councils, the program has been designed to give the next generation of farmers access to financial education in the communities in which they live.

With the program now rolling out on a national scale, one of the first seminars is planned for the Riverina region in southern NSW.

Rabobank’s national co-ordinator for the Growing the Family Business program, Justin Harrison, said the sessions were ‘‘very hands on’’, with participants — generally aged between 18 and 25 — taken through practical steps to understand the financial position of their own farming business.

‘‘The sessions will look at what makes up a balance sheet, profit and loss statement and an introduction to triple bottom line accounting,’’ Mr Harrison said.

‘‘And more importantly, how to interpret these reports to make calculated business decisions. This then feeds into sessions on how banks assess a loan and the importance of developing a business plan.’’

Drawing on the expertise of local farmers, Mr Harrison said the workshops would also give participants the opportunity to hear candidly from those who had looked outside the square for opportunities and the lessons they had learned along the way.

‘‘Nothing rings quite as true as hearing from someone within your industry, who can talk about how they have got to where they are now, but perhaps more importantly, the traps and pitfalls they have experienced along the way,’’ he said.

The workshops are open to clients and non-clients of Rabobank and there is no cost for farmers to attend.

In lieu of payment, a donation to the Country Women’s Association is welcome, with local branches catering the morning tea and lunch.

■For more information and to apply for upcoming workshops visit:

To inquire about running a workshop in your area, contact the nearest Rabobank branch or national program co-ordinator Justin Harrison on 0400 282 604.