The business of farming in focus at Bendigo forum

Author: Sharon Watt | Date: 02 Mar 2015

Bill Long

Farm advisers from across Victoria will gather in Bendigo this month to discuss what they can do to advance the enterprises of their grain-growing clients.

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Farm Business Update on March 19 will provide a unique opportunity for advisers to learn from and network with leading industry professionals.

GRDC Southern Regional Panel chair Keith Pengilley says the Farm Business Updates play an important role in the corporation’s extension program in the southern cropping region, offering practical advice and information on the key farm enterprise issues facing grain growers.

“These worthwhile forums boost knowledge and understanding, facilitate networking between farm advisers and consultants and ensure advisers are equipped with the best information to assist their clients,” Mr Pengilley said.

“The Bendigo Farm Business Update will feature an impressive array of speakers and I encourage all agronomists, rural accountants, financial advisers, agribusiness bankers, rural financial counsellors and farm consultants to attend.”

The program will begin with a keynote presentation from Michael Mackie of Gilmac, a business which from humble beginnings in a converted farm shed has become the premier exporter of Australian hay and straw to the dairy and beef industries in Japan, Taiwan and South Korea out of its bases in Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria.

Mr Mackie will address the audience on “what it takes to be a vibrant rural business in the 21st century”.

The role of business advisory boards in the family farm will be explored by Bill Long, the principal consultant with Ag Consulting Co, an advisory, training and agricultural research business based at Ardrossan on Yorke Peninsula in SA.

Farmer and consultant Ed Hunt, from SA’s Eyre Peninsula, will discuss managing profitability and risk in a grain business, while Judy Wilkinson, a consultant who specialises in sustaining families in business, will speak on the topic of “an agricultural consultant's role in business continuance”.

GrainCorp's Stuart Clarke will look at opportunities and threats in Victorian grain markets, while Ashley Herbert, a partner in the consulting firm Agrarian Management, will detail Australian grain’s positioning on the world stage.

Changes in weather forecasting services and how can they be used to assist with on-farm decision making will be discussed by Peter Hayman, principal scientist in Climate Applications with the SA Research and Development Institute.

Rupanyup farmer and businessman David Matthews will provide his insights on how to become a successful farm business, while Andrew Bayly, a facilitator, communicator and workshop designer will tackle the topic of “trust, influence, relationships and challenging conversations – how to communicate in business”.

To be held at Silks Function Centre at the Bendigo Racecourse, the Farm Business Update will begin at 9.00am and catering is provided.

A detailed program can be obtained by visiting or, or by contacting ORM on 03 5441 6176 or email


For Interviews

Gavin Beever, ORM
Phone 03 5441 6176


Sharon Watt
0409 675 100

GRDC Project Code ORM00001

Region South