Know your numbers

Rural business sustainability: Know your numbers

Rural business sustainability: Know your numbers
<p><b>How can farmers ensure their business remains sustainable in these challenging times? ASB General Manager of Rural Ben Speedy spoke to REX Today’s Dominic George, sharing his insights into farm business sustainability, including how to mitigate rising costs, how to recruit and retain quality staff, and how to develop a good culture within the business.&nbsp;</b></p> <p><b>Listen to the full interview <a href="https://www.todayfm.co.nz/home/rural/2022/05/rural-business-sustainability-know-your-numbers-.html" target="_blank">here</a>.</b></p> <p>Over the last few years, sustainability has been a hot topic, particularly with regard to the environment. But as Speedy told George, business sustainability is considerably more holistic than that, “it’s also thinking about what you need to do within your business to ensure that it survives and thrives over your targeted time frame. For many of our farming customers, that's intergenerational, so it doesn't mean it's exclusive to the environment. It’s also about your broader strategy when meeting longer-term climate change pressures, including financial stability and sustainability.”</p> <p>Business sustainability includes considering both a short and long-term focus. “In the short term, there’s a focus on cash flow. How are our customers thinking about inflationary pressures and rising costs? And in the longer term, we’re looking at wealth creation and operational practices. How are we running the farm? What are your farming systems? How are you dealing with labour and the farm’s adaptability element?”</p> <p>Farm business sustainability is typically intergenerational, so Speedy says they help rural customers consider things like changing customer preferences and new business opportunities that could play a role in their farm’s diversification strategy.</p> <p>With the operating costs of running a farm increasing rapidly and a labour shortage resulting in challenges when sourcing good staff, Speedy says that farmers need to be prepared, “these challenges aren't going away anytime soon. Inflationary pressures are going to be here for a while, so the input costs to our businesses are going to be high for quite a period of time. The COVID challenges in China are still impacting the supply chain. And what's going on in Ukraine is not beneficial to business, particularly when we look at input costs that centre around energy. So, it's not going to change anytime soon.”</p> <p>It’s not all doom and gloom though, with Speedy pointing to tailwinds through recent government announcements regarding more people being able to come into the country, “dairy was one of the sectors that was listed on the green list.”</p> <p>Speedy believes that it's important for farmers and rural customers to understand their numbers, “not only in terms of income coming in, but what their costs are and what their budget looks like, both in the short and medium-term. What becomes important is starting to think about the critical productivity measures within the business.</p>
<p>ASB and REX are running a four-part webinar series focussed on sustainability, whether that’s business, environmental, or financial, and diversification, hosted by Rural Exchange’s Hamish McKay. Register for the webinars <a href="https://au.eventscloud.com/website/1734/" target="_blank">here</a>.</p>