Intouch : Management Win for Dairy Farmer

Taking the time to develop young farmers, while also being able to manage the growth of his business, has seen dairy farmer Peter Flood collect this year’s Rabobank Executive Development Programme (EDP) Management Project Award.
Flood – who farms 3600 milking cows on 1230 hectares of land in Ruawai, Kerikeri and the Kai Iwi Lakes area – was one of 35 leading primary producers from around New Zealand and Australia who recently graduated from the EDP, business management programme designed to further enhance the skills of Australasia’s leading agricultural producers.
Rabobank business programmes manager Kate Steel said Flood was chosen as the award winner because he demonstrated that the EDP course provided the most stimuli for major changes to his business and personal life.
“Peter used his learnings from the EDP to build sustainable business structure for his farm. He formed parent company called ‘Top Flight Agri’ and restructured his farm businesses to stand alone underneath this company. Through Top Flight Agri, Peter employed two external directors to give strategic advice which meant he could take some time to focus on his other passion, developing and mentoring young farmers,” she said.
Flood said the programme gave him the confidence and skills to “set the wheels in motion”.
“The EDP made me re-look at my goals, and then ‘jump started’ me down the road to set plans in place to achieve them,” he said, adding that the programme module on business structures had the most significant impact on his business.
“I learnt that my management structure was not sustainable, so this is where I made the most significant changes. Once I had formed Top Flight Agri, I saw need to reassess my management structure. The new structure needed to be easily run and simple for staff to understand to get the best performance. I understood that all people are different, and you can’t have the same approach to achieve common outcome.”
With sustainable business structure in place, Flood began to mentor and develop young farmers with focus on helping them to achieve their own goals in farming.
“One of my key aims from the management project was to develop young farmers and grow them into positions to help them develop their goals and dreams,” he said.
Flood was presented with the prize for best management project by Neil Dobbin, group executive rural banking for Rabobank Australia and New Zealand, at graduation dinner for participants and their partners.
Often referred to as ‘mini MBA’, the EDP is run in two modules held nine months apart. As part of the programme, each participant undertakes self-designed management project in the break between modules, applying the business and management skills they gained from the first module to their own business, with the aim of obtaining tangible results.

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