Fine-turning key to farming success
The desire to step up and be more involved in the business side of her family’s farm was the motivation for Binks McCurdy to learn new skills through a programme for women funded nationally by the Red Meat Profit Partnership.
Designed and delivered by the Agri-Women’s Development Trust, Understanding Your Farming Business is being held throughout New Zealand to develop the business, skills and confidence of women in the red meat sector.
Binks, a former nurse, has regularly worked on-farm with her husband Dave on their 1,000ha sheep, beef and cropping farm in Rissington, Hawkes Bay where the couple live with their three children. Since moving there from Southland in 2014 they have grown the business together and always discussed plans for the future.
“It was the business side of things that I thought I could improve,” says Binks. “While I paid the bills, and helped with the GST, I needed more confidence with figures and tools like budgeting and benchmarking. “We were always rushing to get office work done together and the course made me realise that I could manage the business and office side of it to free Dave up to concentrate more on the farm operation.
“First and foremost, the course has given me no-end of confidence and some totally new skills. I’ve realised how crucial I am to the success of our business.
“I’m more involved with fine-tuning the finances so we can move to the next level of farming. Sometimes when we’ve been busy on the farm, the office work has taken a back seat. Now with the course under my belt we realise the importance of keeping an eye on everything that’s coming in and going out. We manage our time better now, making the office side of the business more of a priority.
Budgeting has become more focused with Binks driving more regular reviews and adjustments through the year. “Not only does this keep us both up to play with the progress of the farm development but we get a more successfully running cash flow.”
After the first day of the course Binks overhauled the farm office systems. “I came home all gung-ho and used what I’d learned to completely clean out and rearrange the office. We’re now absolutely seeing the benefit of our new filing system while working with our accountant at financial year-end.
“I’ve also gained confidence in having more of a voice with our advisors. After another day at the course I had lots of questions so organised a meeting with the bank. The bank manager was really receptive and supportive as he was the one who had suggested the course to me.
Dave is enthusiastic about having Binks more involved in all parts of the business. “I can see the benefit of creating more efficient office systems and increased financial tracking. “Both of us being on the same page has helped us plan better and gain confidence in our future ambitions.”
Since Binks completed Understanding Your Farming Business, Dave and Binks have set 12-month and 5-year farm and personal goals. “We’ve even sat down and chatted with the kids who were really receptive. We’ve already gone back over the 12-month plan as a family and found we’ve achieved more than half of it in the first three months.
“Not only was it a great chance to talk as a family but we all found it really informative as to what our individual goals are. We all have differing ideas on our goals; overseas holidays compared to raising the lamb survival rate, but it’s important that they’re equally heard and recorded. The kids love it and are beginning to realise that farming is not just a day-to-day operation but involves a long-term outlook and a great deal of planning.”