FUTURE Farmers Network member Alex Davies is headed from his farm at Coonabarabran to New Zealand next week.

The young sheep, wool and grain producer has been awarded the inaugural Future Farmers Network Rabobank Farm Managers Program opportunity.

Rabobank’s Southern Queensland & Northern New South Wales Client Council awarded a place on their annual Farm Managers Program, held in Christchurch, to the FFN Member who displayed a clear ambition and desire to help the sustainability of their industry.

Alex’s ambition was clear to selectors, through both his work on the family’s 4000 acre farm Box Ridge, and his work across the wider industry and community.

“I love Ag – when your passion is on the land it makes it really easy to get out of bed and go and do whatever needs doing, and there is such a diverse range of jobs – spraying and spreading to shearing and drenching – pretty much anything. I love looking at a good line of sheep and some beautiful Merino wool,” he said.

Alex has been back on Box Ridge for seven years, and works alongside his parents in the day to day running of their 4200 Merino ewe flock and 1500 acres of dual purpose crops.

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Alex Davies of Box Ridge at Coonabarabran, NSW, has won a spot in the Rabobank Farm Managers Program in New Zealand.

He says succession planning, farm debt and drought are the biggest issues facing the agricultural industry, and he hopes to gain valuable skills at the Farm Managers Program to use both on-farm and for wider advocacy and extension work.

“I didn’t go to uni and always kicked myself that I don’t have a piece of paper to my name – I have spoken to a lot of people who have done this and it sounds unreal – so it was a no-brainer to apply,” he said.

“(Learning about) succession planning is going to be a big one, just because of the situation my family are in at home, and also managing people and employees, preparation for a managers role, I will get a lot out of that.”

In the future, Alex hopes to manage a harmonious and successful team on-farm – and get plenty of rain of course.

“I look forward to the seasons returning to a normal rainfall if there is such a thing these days, and working alongside a team that at the end of the day you can be proud of what you’ve achieved and what you’ve produced.”

Alex was judged the winner from 27 applications and will attend the Rabobank Farm Managers Program, a one-week residential course held outside Christchurch New Zealand from 23-28 June 2019, with the course ($5900), flights and accommodation paid for.

Rabobank Knowledge and Network Experiences manager Matilda Stump said they were “thrilled and overwhelmed” with the calibre of applications

“Reading through the applications everyone on the panel felt very inspired and excited about the future of our industry and the leaders coming through,” she said.

“Alex Davies’ application stood out for many reasons as someone who has clear ambitions, would benefit enormously from business management training and who would really make the most of the networking opportunities and mentoring the program offers.”

Chair of the Rabobank Southern QLD and Northern NSW Client Council Sally Rigney said the calibre of candidates meant selecting the winner was a big challenge.

“Reading the FMP applications and seeing the depth of talent in the next generation of Australian agricultural producers inspired us with hope for the future.”

“It was a very tight contest among our final four but Alex Davies from Coonabarabran won through due to his clear vision, can-do attitude and obvious thirst for knowledge.”

“For Alex you could see the opportunity to attend the FMP would be life changing. Alex is someone who wants so much more for his family partnership and probably wouldn’t have access to this type of learning and knowledge without the financial support of our Rabobank Client Council scholarship.”

Designed to strengthen the operational and strategic skills of farm managers, the Farm Managers Program covers global trends in agriculture, business planning, financial management, leadership, and succession planning.

Facilitated by experts in these fields, the program is designed to develop management expertise and ensure farmers leave with a highly practical skill set that can be applied from day one.

The Rabobank Client Council Southern Queensland and Northern NSW is excited at the prospect of turning this into an annual initiative in partnership with Future Farmers Network.