Improving the performance of a grazing business requires careful consideration of a wide range of areas such as animal production, grazing management and human resources. While many producers prefer to concentrate on livestock and production issues, focusing on the business and the people is just as critical. Developing the skills of everyone who works in the business is critical. It is people who make the plans and implement the strategies that will determine the success of the business.
Key area 1 – Business planning
Successful businesses are built on good planning, effective implementation of sound strategies and the ability to prepare for the future, whilst being flexible enough to deal with change. Management has become increasingly difficult as a result of rapidly changing production, economic, environmental and social conditions. Successful businesses will be those that can evolve to better deal with constant change.
The purpose of planning is identifying where the business is currently positioned in terms of production and financial performance, what it wants to achieve and what needs to be done to achieve its objectives and goals.
Having all key family members involved in the business working together towards the business goals is critical. Family businesses undergoing a formal planning process for the first time often engage an outside expert, consultant or advisor with experience in this area to guide the family to a productive outcome.
Documented plans are critical for ongoing review of business direction, assessing performance and planning the future direction of the business. Formalising what everyone wants in the business plan is a powerful process and a key characteristic of successful businesses.
As many farm businesses are family based, documented plans are critical for managing the succession process or changes in roles for key management personnel.
Key area 2 – Business knowledge and skills
Organised, timely, accurate records allow for production and financial performance to be analysed and provide a solid basis for planning, budgeting and management.
Key area 3 – Human resources
Like all businesses, rural businesses rely on harmonious working environments where everyone involved in the business feels that they are able to contribute to the success of the business and are rewarded for their efforts.
Regardless of the size of the business, human resource areas that need to be addressed include personal goals, health and wellbeing, communication, roles and responsibilities, working conditions, training and skills development.
Key area 4 – Workplace health and safety (WHS)
Safe workplaces feature awareness and communication and are places where both workers and employers share responsibility for safety.
Key area 5 – Chemical use and records
Chemicals used in grazing enterprises must be stored and used in a manner; that is safe for staff, stock and the environment, and complies with relevant legislation and regulations. Chemicals include pesticides, herbicides and animal health/veterinary products.