Business planning support for dairy farmers

Business and financial planning is critical to the success of all dairy farms. Effective planning builds your farm’s capability and equips you to make better decisions that increase profit and wealth over time. This is essential to clearly set and achieve your long-term business and personal goals.

Planning also prepares you and your farm to face and overcome market challenges and risks to better manage for volatility. In a world with rising costs and stretched supply chains, it is now more important than ever to have a good business plan.

That’s why, as part of Dairy Australia’s commitment to enhancing farm business management, dairy farmers are provided with access to business planning and risk management tools and insights to support on-farm decision making and improve profitability.

One of the first steps towards reaching your business goals and improving your farm profitability is to identify what those goals actually are. It’s easy to carry them around in your head but, by putting them down on paper and sharing them with your farm team, it ensures everyone understands what the vision for your farm is and can work towards it.

Our Farm, Our Plan is a free program offered by Dairy Australia to help you develop a customised plan for your farm. 

Developed with support from the Gardiner Dairy Foundation, Our Farm, Our Plan gives farmers access to experienced dairy experts to help set out your short-term and long-term goals. It also offers on-going one-on-one support over a 24-month period to help you plan more effectively for the future.

Enhancing staff management 

Darren and Nicole Saunders are dairy farmers in Maffra, Victoria. The couple knows that to run a successful dairy business, you need everyone on the same page.

Participating in the Our Farm, Our Plan program provided Darren and Nicole with a strong understanding of exactly what their vision was and helped set the goals needed to get there. In addition, it ensured that their staff were all aligned on that path.

“Our Farm, Our Plan set us up for success. It was a massive benefit to us and our team,” Darren says.

“It was good to take a step back and have a bit of an overview of what we were doing as you can get a bit tied up in the day-to-day operations.

“It’s really important to spend your time investing in staff. You can’t be everywhere yourself. It gave the staff a chance to look at why they’re working for us and where they want to head in the future.”

Knowing farm business financials

To assist with your planning, you also need to have a realistic understanding of the financial position their business.

Dairy Australia has a number of free online business analysis tools which can help you get a better understanding of your financial position.

The Farm Business Snapshot is a free online tool and a great place to start for a basic understanding of your overall profitability. Aligned with the Standard Chart of Accounts, the Farm Business Snapshot provides annual farm analysis with only minimal data input needed. It allows you to easily benchmark your business performance against farms in your region.

“The simplicity of Farm Business Snapshot is one of the key attractions. It prints out a good set of data and gives you a traffic light system that is easy to follow,” ONFARM Consulting’s Matt Harms says.

Erin Olsen is a Gippsland sharefarmer who has a 10-year goal plan, and participating in Farm Business Snapshot has allowed her to look at where her operation is heading.

“Farm Business Snapshot could offer my husband and I direction and goal set in our business – what we could achieve and work on in certain categories,” Erin explains.

“Whether it be fertiliser costing or spreading costing or any of those elements within the business, Farm Business Snapshot was straightforward – 10 minutes and you’re done, and all your totals are there ready to go.”

Business analysis with DairyBase 

For a more comprehensive look at your financial position, DairyBase is a free, easy-to-use online business analysis tool that helps farmers strategically measure, track and compare their business performance and to others in the region. It enables farmers to identify opportunities that can drive profit and manage risk supporting better informed decisions.

With over 10,000 industry datasets, DairyBase has 1,800 farmers registered currently using the analysis tool supporting enhanced profitability.

To find out how you can improve your profitability through enhanced farm business management, visit the farm business webpage.

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