Farm advisory boards can strengthen accountability

Author: Natalie Lee | Date: 20 Jun 2016

A face-to-face farm advisory board meeting.

Face-to-face farm advisory board meetings are held regularly and bring a range of perspectives to sharpen long-term strategies. They are a useful forum to assist succession planning. Photo by Nicole Baxter.

Unlike the mainstream small business sector, only a minority of Australian farms have an advisory board where the intellectual contributions of family members and outsiders are brought together at the same time.

Family farm management structures have changed little compared with the technological, agronomic and marketing transformations of the past 25 years.

The 2015 Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper recognises that farm management structures will have to continue to modernise in the face of declining productivity growth, future capital requirements and marketing challenges.

But there is now an increasing number of Australian grain growers who have introduced an advisory board to their enterprises’ management structures.

These boards comprise family members and selected individuals who assist high-level strategic planning and farm management policy and guideline development, and typically hold face-to-face meetings at least four times a year.

A Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Farm Advisory Board Fact Sheet outlines how advisory boards can contribute to an improved bottom line by providing decision support, setting guidelines for prudent budgeting and expenditure, and keeping people informed and ready for new opportunities and innovations.

They are about questioning, challenging decision-making, identifying goals, setting strategies to reach them, and monitoring progress.

Farm Advisory Boards can reduce emotion in decision making, leading to more considered choices, which can ease stress and have mental health benefits.

The GRDC Farm Advisory Board Fact Sheet, produced as part of its Farm Business Management initiative, is available via this link.

Contact Details

Natalie Lee, Cox Inall Communications
08 9864 2034, 0427 189 827

GRDC Project Code ORM00015

Region National