Take action on business

12 May, 2017 12:57 PM
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Neil Innes-Smith signed up for Taking Stock in July and with the help of consultant Alexis Perez focused on budgets.
The process made me realise it that I need to take more attention to details ...
Neil Innes-Smith signed up for Taking Stock in July and with the help of consultant Alexis Perez focused on budgets.

Dairyfarmers who have completed a Taking Stock session in the last 12 months can now access a second round of support to review how things have gone against the action plan they originally put together. The second session will focus on the remainder of the current season, and begin to look ahead to the 2017/18 season.

Called a 'Taking Stock Action Plan Review' sessions will be similar to the original Taking Stock and will be held with an experienced farm consultant. Like Taking Stock, the review sessions will be managed by Dairy Australia's Regional Development Programs (RDPs) and provided at no cost to dairyfarmers in Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and New South Wales.

"Our priority is still to provide all dairyfarmers with the opportunity to do a first Taking Stock session, but we are in a position to now offer the Action Plan Review," Dairy Australia program leader Ross Bawden said. "We expect that this will add significant value to the Taking Stock process, which on the back of the first session, 98 per cent of farmers surveyed said they had a better understanding of their business".

Some farmers have already accessed the Action Plan review including James Langley, from Tasmania. "Taking Stock and the review session were worthwhile - I think any assistance that you can take up in this environment, especially an experienced consultant, is worthwhile," he said.

"We focused hard on cashflow. Running any business you need to have a good handle on your cashflow."

Mr Langley said the advantage of being able to utilise experienced consultant Penny Williams for Taking Stock was that she has seen a lot of farms as part of the process and could give feedback on what strategies other farmers were implementing.

"It was great to have that second opinion on your business," he said.

Mr Langley said he was in a fortunate position that his contracting business had been busy and his business overall remained successful.

"Things are going to be tight again with farmers dealing with what happened last season so it's good to do Taking Stock and the review session," he said.

Also in Tasmania, Smithton dairyfarmer Neil Innes-Smith said he signed up for Taking Stock in July and with the help of consultant Alexis Perez focused on budgets.

"Obviously it was going to be tough as we were coming out of a drought, so we were behind the eight ball as it was," he said. "Then we had the pricing issues on top of that so we knew that things were going to be tight so we signed up for it.

"We were probably overspending at about 50 cents a kilogram of milk solids. Strategically we were looking at keeping fertiliser down to maintenance levels, no capital work development and keeping agisted stock down to a minimum.

"We probably should have done the session later as we fell away from the projections in the budget in the second half of the season."

Mr Innes-Smith said all farmers who had done a Taking Stock session should be taking advantage of a Taking Stock Action Plan Review.

"We scraped by as it was but would have been a lot worse if we hadn't done it," he said. "The process made me realise it that I need to take more attention to details as far as how costs are allocated in the budget they shouldn't be lumped together and also that I need to keep a closer eye on the budget from month to month."

Anyone who is interested in doing either an initial Taking Stock or an Action Plan Review session should contact their Regional Development Program. See details at http://www.dairyaustralia.com.au/Industry-information/Dairy-regions.aspx.

The delivery of Taking Stock and the Taking Stock Action Plan Review is proudly supported by the Gardiner Foundation, the Australian Government, the South Australian Government, the Tasmanian Government and major dairy processors.

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