Networking and positivity
Part of Jo’s enthusiasm can be attributed to her having recently completed an Agri-Women’s Development Trust 'Understanding Your Farm Business' course.
Jo found the course invaluable for gaining a greater understanding of the farm business she runs alongside her husband Bryce. However, it was having the opportunity to meet like-minded, positive people that for Jo was a real bonus.
To carry on the momentum, participants have started their own sheep farming discussion group, which will build on the grounding they received during the course.
Re-evaluating your farming business
Jo says the course was very worthwhile in that it provided a catalyst for her and Bryce to step back and re-evaluate their operation.
“It really made you look at your whole business.”
The course was intense. Incorporating four full days, and a lot of homework hours in between, it covers every aspect of the farm business – from budgets, key performance indicators and benchmarking, through to communication skills.
The women in Jo's group were in a variety of farm business structures – from traditional husband and wife teams through to equity partnerships. Similarly, the participants had a range of roles within their businesses – with some, like Jo, physically farming, while others focused solely on the bookwork.
Understanding how the numbers work
Jo has always done the GST and paid the bills – but the Understanding Your Farming Business accounting module shed new light on accounts. Rather than focusing solely on the bottom-line, Jo says she now has a greater understanding of how different numbers impact on different parts of the business.
Like a number of the women on the course, Jo had never done any formal learning around bookwork, but had learnt as she went along. She now feels she has a much greater understanding of how the numbers work and is keen to extend her knowledge even further.
Jo says she has become a lot more structured in the way she manages the accounting side of the business and believes this has made her and Bryce stronger as a team. It is about taking greater control of the business rather than relying on other people, such as accountants, to crunch the numbers for them.
Step up and take control
Jo says one of the unexpected outcomes of the course was the participants identifying the skill-sets they had developed over the years, but had failed to recognise.
“From an industry point of view, I think we women underestimate ourselves.”
She says several women on the course have made huge strides within their businesses and often it’s about having the confidence to step up and take more control.
For Jo, it has made her even more enthusiastic about the sheep industry. Farming on flat land near Winton, the couple are surrounded by dairy farms and Jo says they have often felt pressure to convert.
Having had the opportunity to do the Understanding Your Farming Business course – with other like-minded and positive people – Jo feels more confident and secure about their future as sheep farmers.
Find out more
Visit Visit Understanding Your Farming Business (AWDT website)