The AgriBusiness Group
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Agri-Women’s Development Trust - Engaging women as critical farming partners

The Agri-Women’s Development Trust offers a range of courses aiming to equip and support women to generate economic, social and environmental progress in the primary sector and rural communities. Amelia Wood and Charlotte Irving are attending the ‘Understanding Your Farming Business’ course and have been able to apply the new skills and knowledge to their daily practices as consultants.

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The number of women working in the agriculture sector is ever increasing, with more becoming the key person on the farm, in the business, and as consultants. This has changed the traditional dynamics within the farming business and can leave some women feeling uncertain, especially if they are new to the farming game. 

Agri-Women’s Development Trust began ‘Understanding Your Farming Business’ courses in 2013, which aim to equip farming women with the business knowledge, skills and confidence to better engage as critical farming partners. The Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP) funded courses take place all over the country. At the end of 2018 over 1300 women had graduated from the programme with numbers increasing in 2019 and again in 2020. 

Two consultants from The Agribusiness Group, Amelia Wood and Charlotte Irving, are currently attending the course in Little River to further their knowledge in farm performance, goal setting and farm accountancy. The course is held over four days over a four-month period, covering: 

  • Measuring farm performance

  • Financial analysis, benchmarking and budgeting

  • Planning for improved farm performance

  • Business structures

  • The opportunity to ask an accountant tricky questions.

The final day of the course is for graduation, and gives the ladies opportunity to relax and build relationships further. 

The course emphasises that a successful working relationship between a rural professional and farmer clients is grounded by understanding their priorities and what drives them, as well as knowing their business objectives and goals. The course has led both consultants to enhance their approaches to business development plans, on farm consultations and discussions around farm planning which has resulted in improved value to clients. This also involves assisting in clients’ budgets and benchmarking their farms to improve farm performance. 

The knowledge gained from the course provided great value in increasing the confidence in the women participating, encouraging them to engage more in conversations on-farm and in business planning. Having the ability to pick professionals’ brains, discuss options within the group, complete the inter-module work and begin to implement goals within the business meant that the learnings became practice. 

In addition to ‘Understanding Your Farming Business’ courses, the Agri-Women’s Development Trust holds other courses, including: 

  • It’s all about YOU - assisting women discover true value, refocus on what is important, explore possibilities and create new networks 

  • Escalator - leadership and governance programme 

  • Wāhine Māia, Wāhine Whenua - engaging Māori women as critical farming partners

  • Future Focus - bringing sheep and beef farming partners together to achieve their business goals and aspirations. 

If you are interested in any of the courses or want to find out more about the Agri Women’s Development trust see www.awdt.org.nz.

Or drop Amelia a note if you have any comments or questions.