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Course will force a fresh look at farming career

§ December 18th, 2011 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on Course will force a fresh look at farming career

WANTED: Fifty people keen to succeed as farmers and prepared to attend an intensive five-day career development course, all paid for by someone else.

The catch: You have to be enrolled with the Agriculture ITO and already studying at National Certificate level three or above.

There’s no upper age limit and you can be from any farming sector. Two Farming to Succeed courses will be run next year, for 25 North Island and 25 South Island qualifying people.

It’s been made possible by extra funding from Agriculture ITO’s national sponsor FIL NZ Ltd, a dairy hygiene and animal health products supplier.

Farming To Succeed builds on an earlier programme Bound to Succeed, which put up to 20 people through an Outward Bound course, and Future Farmers, developed and facilitated for Agriculture ITO trainees by Waikato farmer and business owner Grant Taylor.

The successful applicants will accompany Mr Taylor on a series of field visits and meetings with highly motivated and successful agribusiness people. Accommodation, food and travel expenses during the course are all provided.

Participants will also learn about some of the human factors that can affect the long-term viability of a farm – such as families, communities and networks. FIL director Arthur Jordan says his company was excited by the prospect of sponsoring a programme that has been called a life changing experience.

‘‘It brings a very specific agricultural focus to its content, while also emphasising the value of personal development and growth,’’ Mr Jordan said.

Kevin Bryant, Agriculture ITO’s chief executive, said FIL’s sponsorship meant Farming To Succeed was set to become a major feature among rural personal development programmes.

‘‘We see fostering the development of future leaders in agriculture as an important part of our role. Having such a practical and intensive course will open the eyes of those who attend to the possibilities of their career – and start them thinking about building sustainable, profitable businesses of their own.

‘‘FIL’s support for the industry and the programme means we’ve been able to almost double the size of programme.’’

Grant Taylor says the course is about making people sit up and think about the important assets in their business and inspiring them to make positive changes in themselves as people. ‘‘The programme has been extremely well received by all the previous attendees; several said they couldn’t put a value on it because it was the most life-changing event in their lives,’’ Mr Taylor said.

The course also caters for those who have made a mid-career transition into farming.

‘‘If you’ve got the right attitude, it’s never too late,’’ Mr Taylor said.

Logan Dawson, a 21-year-old who aims to buy into the family’s Te Awamutu dairy farm one day, attended the course last year. He said it challenged his assumptions about farm ownership and his career. Since finishing the course he has bought a house and is broadening his work experience.

‘‘Drop everything you are doing and go to the course, because it will change your whole outlook on the way you do farming,’’ he said.

‘‘The course challenged me: That the route that I take to dairy farm ownership doesn’t always necessarily involve dairy farming. I’m paying my house off as well as working as a spray contractor; eventually I’ll use the house as a cashflow machine to fund buying cows and stuff for a farm,’’ he says.

Alex van Paassen, the ITO’s communications manager, says: ‘‘We are trying to broaden horizons and encourage future leaders by exposing them to people who have done what they are dreaming of, or maybe they haven’t even started dreaming yet.

‘‘To get on the course you need to show a reasonable amount of boldness.

‘‘It’s all about building networks. They are exposed to people who have succeeded. It opens their eyes to what they can do.’’ Applications close on January 30. Agriculture ITO helps New Zealand agribusinesses improve their productivity and sustainability through better skills and knowledge.