Monthly Archives April 2019

Why did you join the FFN Board & what do you love most about the organisation?

The ability to support youth in agriculture at a national level was appealing to me given the key issues faced by young workers and agricultural entrepreneurs are consistent across Australia. The FFN has the ability to harness feedback based on what is being experienced by members nationally and support them by providing tailored solutions.

I joined the Board to contribute to this supporting role the organisation takes and to try and reciprocate the help I received from so many young farmers since entering the industry, which I am now very passionate about.

What do you think has shaped your career, or had significant influence over where you are today?

I think not being too rigid in your aspirations is important as when opportunities pop up, they will rarely be in the exact form you had in mind. Whether it’s a different product, species, location or even a different role, I think these new opportunities are always worth considering. Often, they turn out to be far better than you anticipated.

What was it like transitioning your career from corporate Perth to regional Australia?

For me the transition has only been 30 minutes out of Perth city to Fremantle, so I can’t say it required much adjustment! But now having connections to regional agricultural in WA I can say I have learnt the importance of taking a community mindset. This is something I bring now to my work regardless of where I am stationed as it consistently delivers ‘win-win’ outcomes for everyone involved.

In your experience in the fishing industry, what are some of the biggest challenges facing the next generation?

I think it is going to be important for all primary producers (both land and sea) to take a wider ecosystem approach to managing sustainably in their operations. It is not enough to manage your impact to the ‘farm-gate’ as consumers are now demanding more. By working together primary producers can better meet consumer expectation and jointly consider what changes they may need to make to protect their long-term position in the industry.

What excites you about the future of agriculture in Australia?

There are plenty of talented and driven young people giving it a crack in the industry with a culture of innovation that seems to be deep seeded in the industries youth. Provided these people get the support they need I see no reason as to why Australia can’t continue to strengthen our position as a leader in global agriculture.

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Starting up a new business, returning to a family business or simply reviewing a current business structure can be an overwhelming process. In particular, the varying business structures available to you under the lens of agriculture can come across as complicated.

Future Farmers Network and their partner CQU Australia are pleased to be delivering a short webinar on 2 May for young agriculture professionals that provides a top-level overview of Agricultural Business Structures.

Whether you’re setting up your own agricultural business or walking into an existing one, this short 30 minute webinar will give you the skills you need to understand the most common top-level agricultural business structures.

The webinar will be led by CQU Australia lecturer, Desley Pidgeon – a qualified financial planner who has worked predominately in Agribusiness banking.

The session will provide the introduction to the most common business structures in Australia, briefly touching on the pros and cons of each with a focus on tax implications within the structures.

The session will conclude with questions that you will need to consider when deciding on the best structure for your current situation and/or what you might do in the future.

FFN and CQU invite you to submit questions through the registration process so that we can adapt the webinar appropriately.

Webinar: Breaking Down Agricultural Business Structures
Date: 2 May 2019 6pm AEDT
Cost: Free
Registration: Click here to register for free & receive the link required to join the webinar.

Topics addressed
• Common agricultural business structures
• Pros and cons of various structures
• Tax implications
• Questions

Who should attend
• People considering setting up their own agricultural business – from machinery contracting and land leasing, to farm purchases and agistment
• People wanting to better understand the various agriculture business structures prior to a meeting with an accountant, business advisor, solicitor or business partner
• People with an existing business structure who are seeking a quick overview of the various options available
• People wanting a refresher on the possible business structures

Desley Pidgeon, Webinar Presenter | Bio
Desley raised on a dairy farm, continued her interest in agriculture studying at UNE. While working on a project realised that really mathematics was her thing. Retrained, restudied and has taught in three states over the last 25+ years. For a break retained and qualified as a financial planner, working predominately in the Agribusiness side of a bank. Currently has followed her passion for education and is now working at CQU.


With special thanks to FFN Partner RuralBiz Training for supplying the webinar platform.

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Tell us about yourself Olivia…

I grew up on a mixed-enterprise farm near Dubbo, NSW, where we have dryland and irrigated farming as well as commercial sheep and cattle and a Merino Stud. As one of four children, we are very lucky to have parents who have empowered us to be involved in the business if we choose to but who have also encouraged us to go and expand our skill sets and try other things. Whilst working in the city now, I am still very involved in our family business, particularly the Merino Stud and the launch of our new, branded Merino meat product.

Why did you join the FFN Board & what do you love most about the organisation?

I joined FFN because I believe there is so much to be done in helping young people get involved and advance their careers in agriculture and so much benefit to the broader industry to be gained in doing so. We need a strong talent pool of young people to run our businesses, ensure greater innovation and technology adoption and continue improving the global reputation of Australian agriculture.

I think educating and skilling young people up for their careers, and connecting them with mentors is vital to ensure we have a capable group of young people to run the ag industry in the future across all areas – production, logistics, finance, marketing, legal, policy etc. FFN does a great job achieving this: connecting diverse groups and linking young people with scholarships and training programs, facilitating mentoring, encouraging ideas sharing and networking through event promotion and hosting.

Tell us about your career…how did you get from high-school to where you are today?

I studied Agricultural Economics at Sydney University before working in business consulting and then going overseas. When I came back there was an opportunity to work on the delivery of a state-wide infrastructure fund in the office of the Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW, John Barilaro.

I really enjoyed this role, as it involved travelling throughout NSW working with businesses and industry bodies to build regional infrastructure – everything from bridges, industrial precincts to mobile black spot towers to a livestock exchange in Casino. I am now managing the broader Regional Development portfolio for the Minister, looking after other funds, programs and policies that fall under the banner of Regional Development. We are now in the design phase to build inland freight hubs and airports, faster rail, more mobile black spot towers, more timber bridges and roads, more industrial precincts etc. under the Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund.

One of my favourite aspects of this job is that each day I am working with different industries, businesses, councils and community groups and thinking long-term and big-picture about the future needs of rural and regional NSW.  This includes looking at ways the NSW government can invest in the industries that underpin our rural communities such as agriculture, services, logistics, manufacturing etc. and delivering infrastructure, transport, roads and telecommunications to facilitate the continued growth of these industries.

My advice to anyone starting their career is to get as much work experience you can whilst at high school and university and also to get a good mentor who can help with tough decisions and provide general career advice.

What excites you about the future of agriculture in Australia?

There is so much growth and change in the agriculture industry at the moment – from major changes in consumer demand to changes in how commodities are supplied, packaged, transported and consumed as well as the mechanisation of traditional forms of production.  I think Australian farmers are well placed to respond to these trends, with significant opportunity to gain more margin at the farm-gate through value-adding, better branding and direct supply models, more efficient production and capitalising on Australia’s reputation for producing ethical, safe and quality commodities.

New markets and value-added products will require new modes of marketing and distribution, from daigous to subscription services such as MeatMate and I can’t wait to see how Australia leads the charge in developing these alternative models, given that we have the means and impetus to do so.

We are in a period of major investment in infrastructure, which will be crucial to minimising transport and freight times for our overseas exports. Inevitably, industries that are making money will attract both public and private investment in R&D and infrastructure, so I am looking forward to seeing how the ag sector will evolve with more resources underpinning it.

At the same time, I am wary of the challenges Australian agriculture is currently faced with, from trade wars and price volatility, access to finance, climate change and domestic access to energy and water – all of which are impacting our ability to operate. I look forward to seeing the Australian ag industry find innovative ways to tackle these challenges – adopting technology, implementing new modes of production and processing, investing in R&D and increasing the productive capacity of our existing assets through improved management.

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Rabobank’s Southern Queensland & Northern New South Wales Client Council is partnering with the Future Farmers Network to support young agricultural producers.

Rabobank are offering a place on their annual Farm Managers Program to one FFN Member or Young Beef Producer Forum attendee who displays a clear ambition and desire to help the sustainability of their industry and is someone who would benefit from business management training.

The Rabobank Farm Managers Program, a one-week residential course held outside Christchurch NZ from 23-28 June 2019, is for up-and-coming farm managers from across Australia and New Zealand who want to take their management skills to the next level.

The successful applicant will win:
• a place on this esteemed course (valued at $5,900)
• all flights and accommodation to and from New Zealand

The Farm Managers Program will help you to hone your management skills. You’ll leave this week-long program with greater confidence in your leadership skills. You’ll also be equipped with the ability to influence business decisions, and build your own network of young, progressive and passionate farmers.

If you’re an up-and-coming farmer ready to take the next step, this program will help you do all this and more:
• Improve your communication and influencing skills to provide input on business decisions
• Improve your efficiency through time management
• Learn how to develop a business plan
• Understand the essentials of financial management and budgeting

Farm Managers Program Dates:
Sunday 23 – Friday 28 June 2019

Farm Managers Program Location:
Christchurch, New Zealand

Selection criteria: 

  • At least three years’ experience on-farm
  • Currently working in a farming role that includes some management responsibilities
  • To aspire to either own or fully manage a farming operation in your future
  • Member** of the FFN, membership fees range from $25 to $55 for more information go to

** If you are not a member of the FFN but did attend the 2018 Young Beef Producers Forum in Roma November 2018 you are welcome to apply.

Click here to download and complete the application form

Click here for more information on the Farm Managers Program

If you have any questions please contact:
Sally Rigney, Rabobank Southern Queensland and Northern NSW Client Chair
phone: +61 417 758 353
Completed application forms to be emailed to Ainsley McCallum:

Applications close Friday 26th April, 2019.

Applicants will be advised of the result of their applications by 10th May, 2019.


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Tell us about yourself Lachlan…

I grew up on a mixed sheep and wheat property in the Far West of New South Wales before moving on to Yanco Agricultural High School in the Riverina to complete my high school education. I completed a Bachelor of Agribusiness through the University of New England whilst working full time for Elders in varying wool roles across eastern Australia before moving into horticultural management at Southern Cross Farms based in Mildura.

I have just completed my Master of Agribusiness through Marcus Oldham College and am actively involved in a small mixed farming enterprise.

What was it like studying at Marcus Oldham College?

I really enjoyed all of my tertiary education but completing my Master of Agribusiness through Marcus Oldham was incredibly enlightening. I got access to industry experts who were more than open in discussing their thoughts and opinions on everything from commodity marketing to human resource management and business strategy.
Being able to complete my research into agricultural investment and be questioned over my ideas was a great experience and it has been incredibly beneficial to tie theory to real world applications.

Why did you join the FFN Board & what do you love most about the organisation?

I joined the board for a number of reasons, I am incredibly passionate about agriculture and have enjoyed the opportunity to help promote the industry. I enjoy working with other board members and partners who I consider some of the best and brightest in the industry and am excited as to what future we as a team can help create.

In your experience in agriculture as a whole, what are some of the biggest challenges facing the next generation?

I think our challenge will be getting the right people with the capacity to change quickly and adapt to the dynamic changes we face not only on farm but throughout agricultural supply chains and agribusiness.

I have been so fortunate to work in and observe sheep, grain, cattle, wool, almonds and pistachios, wine grapes, table grapes and avocados as well as travel throughout Asia and Europe to meet with customers and a number of the major challenges we face and will face are shared across all of these industries. However I am quite positive that with the experience we have in industries coupled with those looking to enter agriculture with new ideas we are set for a great future.

You recently travelled overseas to Spain and Germany looking at orchards – any takeaways you can share with us?

I recently with Southern Cross Farms, got the chance to travel through Europe to gain more of an understanding of fruit markets and citrus production. Although I learnt an enormous amount about these industry specialisations, the shared challenges we have across the globe in agribusiness in things such as labour, the environment and consumer expectations really hit home.

What excites you about the future of agriculture in Australia?

The people we have wanting to get into agriculture will help set us up for the future. Looking at the board of directors of FFN we have everything from farmers to those involved in investment to legal professionals all wanting to help agriculture and agribusiness advance.

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