It comes as no surprise to know some farmers across the northern Victorian region are doing it tough.
In a 2015 catchment-wide survey, almost 50 per cent of farmers in the North Central Catchment Management Authority (CMA) region revealed net property profits of less than $40,000,
On top of that, almost 60 per cent felt uncertainty or low returns limiting capacity to invest on their properties was an important issue.
A recent land-use survey led by the Goulburn Broken CMA revealed a similar story. The lack of financial resources was cited by more than half (52.6%) of respondents as one of the main barriers to upgrading their farm’s irrigation infrastructure.
“Our communities’ economic future is important to us, and through the Federal Government’s National Landcare Programme we want to give farmers and landholders the tools they need to sustain and grow their businesses,” North Central CMA Regional Landcare Facilitator Mandy Coulson said.
“Improving agricultural productivity and sustainable land management practices are good for everyone. They are good for our towns, good for the country and lead to the protection, conservation and rehabilitation of Australia’s natural environment.
“We want to help them future-proof their farm businesses, and an important step is getting the information out there, making it available for everyone.”
The Goulbourn Broken CMA and North Central CMA have teamed up to present the 2017 Future Farming Expo at Rochester on 5 April.
“This expo will include opportunities for farmers and their families to learn and share practical tips and strategies to help achieve their goals and overcome and current and future challenges,” Goulburn Broken CMA Regional Landcare Facilitator Ashley Rogers said.
“It will feature farmers, scientists and industry experts sharing their research, experience and ideas on strategies to future proof your farm.
“Keynote topics include how to efficiently use new technologies and data in business, and making employment work and getting the most out of a team.”
Speakers include Nathan Scott of Achieve Ag solutions, who has a background in prime lamb production and a passion for improving the productivity and profitability of livestock enterprises.
“He will excite and motivate the audience to adopt new concepts, push their enterprise performance and continually improve,” Mrs Coulson said.
“Mike Stephens of Meridian Agriculture will follow Nathan. He will share his extensive experience in directing, managing and advising small and medium sized businesses across agricultural industry and succession in business. Particular focus will be on making employment work for you and getting the most out of your team.
“These two speakers will aim to show local farmers how to adapt to these challenges and opportunities to benefit their day-to-day farm businesses.”
The expo will also feature interactive workshop sessions where there will be opportunities to learn about setting up farming businesses for current and future generations, agricultural trade and marketing, boosting water-use efficiency in irrigation enterprises and uncovering the secrets of climate models and outlooks.
“Lyn Sykes is renowned throughout Australia for her pioneering and innovative approach to facilitating the process of transferring the family farm,” Ms Rogers said.
“Lyn’s passionate about the role of communication in ensuring that our families and businesses remain viable and ably captivates an audience with her stories and humour. She will be a great speaker.
“Phil Doyle of KPMG will be returning to host a marketing carousel about opportunities for agricultural trade and marketing and environmental and agricultural consultant Christian Bannan will focus on boosting water use efficiency in irrigation enterprises. He will focus on compatibility of water, soils and productivity and techniques available to make them compatible.”
The Future farming Expo is free and will be held at Rochester Shire Hall, 45 Mackay St, Rochester on Wednesday 5 April, from 9.30am to 3pm. It is supported through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.
Places are strictly limited and RSVP is essential. Reservations and program details at http://bit.ly/farmingexpo or search ‘Future Farming Expo’ at www.eventbrite.com.au, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 03 54487124. Please include any dietary requirements and preferred workshop session.