Skip to content
menu icon

GRDC Websites

SA growers invited to master farm business management

Reanna Browne, Work Futures, will speak at the Farm Business Updates on futuristic thinking, encouraging growers to see the future differently and how their actions and inactions influence it.
Photo: Work Futures

People working in grain-growing businesses across SA’s Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas are invited to Farm Business Updates in July to think like a futurist and improve their mastery of farm business management.

The one-day events will cover topics to help growers to plan for an uncertain future, make good decisions around profit and risk, optimise labour, improve procurement, and assess carbon emissions.

An investment of the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), the updates will be held in Port Lincoln (July 4), Maitland (July 5) and Clare (July 6).

Third-generation Eyre Peninsula grain grower and GRDC Southern Panel member Michael Treloar will be attending the Port Lincoln update and says he was looking forward to the speakers talking about risk and decision-making.

“Good decision-making can help drive profit for your business,” says Mr Treloar.

“There are plenty of opportunities in agriculture, but we need support tools to make decisions around risk – such as those related to labour, inputs and machinery costs.

“Every business is at a different stage, and we need good decision-making tools to make the most of those opportunities.

“The Farm Business Updates provide a day when you can look at your own business and the tools available to help you with that decision-making.”

Image of a GRDC Farm Business Update presentation.

Speakers at the Farm Business Updates being held across SA's Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas were identified by growers as locally relevant and helpful to improving their farm business management skills. Photo: GRDC

He added that attracting labour to the Eyre Peninsula was a challenge both for farming businesses and related businesses such as machinery firms.

Futurist Reanna Browne, Work Futures, is the keynote speaker for the updates. Her talk will touch on emerging trends and issues, but her real focus will be on showing growers how to think differently about the future in order to open up new opportunities for action in the present.

“I grew up in remote Queensland on a big cattle and sheep farming family,” says Ms Browne.

“I’ve always felt that farmers are good examples of futurists, they are able to think about the long-term but act seasonally.

This idea of keeping doing what growers do really well and at the same time recognising that things are changing and responding to that is key to thinking like a futurist, she says.

“While we need to ‘keep the lights on’ and focus on, for example, yields, we also need to start making some small bets in the long game where we tinker with, experiment and test different things in the present in response to changes,” says Ms Browne.

“If they are successful, then it can become a core part of what we do, which helps create future viability today.”

She added that the future never arrives, and that the future of our farms happens through the actions – and inactions – that we take today.

“Every time we decide not to do something, or ignore an emerging technology or other change, that’s still an action,” says Ms Browne.

“The way that we have been doing things will lose relevance over the long term for a variety of reasons – it might be climate, technological change, business models or consumer preferences.

“Sometimes we think not acting is a safer bet, but my view is that not acting is still a decision. Sometimes non-action can lead us to a future of constraint, and not a future of choice.”

GRDC’s ‘Opportunity for profit’ project (2018) identified farm business skills, such as improved decision making, as the factor driving differences in profit between the top 20% of growers and all other growers.

The Farm Business Updates help growers advance their farm business management skills and to challenge current farm business practices to discover new and better ones.

“At updates in 2023 so far, a whopping average 98% of attendees told us the update increased their knowledge and awareness of business decision making,” says Ms Courtney Ramsey, GRDC grower relations manager – south.

She added that the topics and speakers for the updates had been identified by growers through GRDC’s National Grower Network (NGN) ensuring they were locally relevant and of high interest.

Full speaker list:

  • Reanna Browne, Work Futures: Think like a futurist in an uncertain present
  • Carmen Quade, Agrifocused: Optimising labour resources within the business
  • John Francis, Agrista: Analysing contributions to profit
  • Rick Llewellyn, CSIRO: Effective decision making around risk
  • Rob Dawes, AgProcure: Best practice procurement
  • Sarah Bennet (Maitland and Clare) and Jana Dixon (Port Lincoln), Pinion Advisory: Assessing carbon emission – why and how?

Registration and information:

back to top