Amy Chamberlain

I often speak to sharemilkers, contract milkers and farm owners who know where they want to go in the future but are after advice on how to get there.

Whether your goal is to transition from sharemilking or contract milking into farm ownership, improve how you operate, or change how you run things onfarm to create a more balanced lifestyle, it takes careful planning.

I attended DairyNZ’s three-day Mark and Measure course last year and recommend it to farmers who want to develop their business skills to achieve their goals.

During May and June, DairyNZ is hosting Mark and Measure courses in Hanmer, Greymouth, Taupo and Northland. While there are many business courses, Mark and Measure is designed for dairy farmers.

One thing I particularly liked was that DairyNZ supports you with a pre-course business analysis. After you supply some basic information and financials, DairyNZ completes a DairyBase analysis which supplies each participant with a financial and physical picture of their situation. This is benchmarked against other farms and referred to during the course; providing everyone with opportunities to see where they should focus their efforts.

Dairy farmers at the event also received a wide range of expert advice – from understanding your and your partner’s personality to business planning, key financial concepts and goal setting.

Complete with a detailed profile of their businesses and their future goals set, farmers then worked on creating a plan showing the steps needed to achieve their larger goals.

Taking a couple of days off-farm is a valuable opportunity for clear thinking without the distractions of farm life.

The course was a lot of fun, and I liked the fact that everyone was very supportive. I’ve kept in touch with some of the farmers from the course who found it extremely valuable.

Registrations close on April 5.

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  • Amy Chamberlain, DairyNZ consulting officer, North Canterbury.