The Weekly Advertiser Horsham
Karleigh turns attention to business
Y“I think we now understand the value that can be added to a business when the books are done properly and how important it is to budget and plan financially” – Karleigh Martin
oung Wimmera farmer Karleigh Martin has a lot on her plate.
Mrs Martin, 28, works on her family’s farm at Brim, juggles three days a week working at Warracknabeal not-for-profit disability organisation Woodbine, all while studying primary school teaching.
She has also signed up for a Young Farmers Business Bootcamp with Agriculture Victoria.
The bootcamps, first piloted in 2015, are designed for people new to farming to help them understand and manage business risk and to develop a business plan to grow their enterprise.
Mrs Martin is part of a growing band of young farmers seeking to develop their farm-finance skills.
She said despite growing up on a farm, it was not until she joined husband Sam in their sheep, cattle and mixed-cropping enterprise that she came to see the business side of agriculture.
“I never previously had anything to do with the books,” she said.
“My husband hates doing the farm books and never prioritised them.
“I think we now understand the value that can be added to a business when the books are done properly and how important it is to budget and plan financially.
“I felt a little out of my depth at times during the bootcamp, but found
it really beneficial and I learned a lot.”
Mrs Martin said during one of the bootcamp sessions a presenter said: ‘It helps if you think like a banker, which means knowing what documents to keep up to date, showing you can manage cash flow’.
She said the advice struck a chord. “At the workshop we looked at the performance benchmarks produced by Grains Research and Development Corporation for farmers performing in the top 20 percent,” she said.
“The farmers were producing more tonnes per hectare with lower input
costs. I walked away from the bootcamp wondering how we could reduce our input cost without compromising how effectively we produced the product.
“The first thing we implemented was shopping around for chemical instead of purchasing it from the one store.
“We still shop locally, but purchase elsewhere if the price difference is significant.
“In the season just passed we purchased a chaser bin and grain bag in-loader so we could store grain to try to capitalise on the upside of the market.”
Mrs Martin also jumped at the opportunity for an express finance course targeting young farmers earlier this year.
She said Agriculture Victoria’s 90-minute ‘Farm Finance – Getting Prepared’ webinars allowed her to continue to develop her business skills without having to leave the farm.
“After watching the first webinar I never regretted my decision and knew I wanted to make sure I was available to watch the remaining series,” she said.
“The webinars are available as a recording if you can’t attend live, which was great for me when I had to leave one session early due to family commitments.”