JOHN LENNON sang about giving peace a chance, but Cavendish-based agribusiness consultant Bronte Gorringe wants more young people to give agriculture a chance.
Bronte, 23, has been living and working around farms her entire life and couldn’t imagine being in another field. She grew up spending time between Cavendish, where her family has a sheep property, and Timboon where they have an agricultural contracting business working with the dairy industry.
“I spent all my spare time helping Mum and Dad with our businesses and I worked on a neighbour’s dairy farm from when I was about 11,”she said.
“I asked if I could give a hand bringing in the cows and calves on the weekends and it grew from there. I worked about 25 hours per week while I was at school and 12 years later I’m still lending a hand when I can.
“Livestock is my passion and I was keen to learn more about animal husbandry and you can’t get better experience than being in the dairy industry.”
Bronte spent a year as assistant manager of the farm before studying farm business management at Marcus Oldham College in Geelong.
Since completing her studies, Bronte works as an agribusiness consultant with Mulcahy and Co Agri Solutions where her role includes farm financial management, education and training, succession planning, debt advisery and budget preparation
“I was always going to work in agriculture in some shape or form,”she said.
“It’s an industry where you need to keep learning.”
Now Bronte is encouraging more of her peers to enjoy the opportunities offered by a life in agriculture.
Bronte has been delivering workshops with WestVic Dairy Young Dairy Network regional extension officer Heidi Van Es to help young farmers plan for the future.
“What I really want to do is encourage other young people to get involved in agriculture; there are so many different fields you can be in within the industry and we need passionate people to be in it.” Bronte said.
“There are big job opportunities and there’s so much more to agriculture than production-based roles.”
The Young Dairy Network workshops cover planning for the year ahead and different management tools farmers can use to be better prepared and understand their financial position. The program is expected to expand across the region.
Bronte said these workshops were giving young aspiring farmers a good head-start on planning for the year to come.
“They’ve been well received and we hope to run workshops every eight weeks with different topics that are relevant for farming businesses,” she said.
In further support for local farmers, WestVic Dairy is continuing to run Farm Business Management workshops and a renewed program of one-on-one support.
WestVic Dairy farm business management regional extension officer Laurie Hickey said the series of workshops showed farmers how to enter data accurately and use it to analyse their business.
“We want farmers to understand and use the tools like DairyBase and the Standard Chart of Accounts which complement farm business management and allow farmers to realise their farms need to run as a business and they need to fully measure and analyse their business performance and make proper informed decisions,” Laurie said.
Dairy Australia is also funding one-on-one consultations under the Taking Stock program, which will roll-out soon across the WestVic Dairy region. This will cover the cost of a consultant working with farm businesses to develop an action plan during tougher conditions.
Supporting farmers is also a driver for Bronte, as it means getting out on farms and meeting the farmers.
“I spend three days a week on the road visiting farmer clients and talking to them about their finances and their production systems – my vehicle is my office,” she said.
“I learn a lot from my clients and have a sound appreciation for all the work that goes into the different agricultural industries and the people who are in it.”
For more information on the programs offered by WestVic Dairy, visit: www.dairyaustralia.com.au/WestVic-Dairy