KYABRAM DAIRY farmer Andrew Murphy will use a Victorian Government scholarship to improve his skills in business management, as his family looks to expand despite the unfavourable conditions.
The Upskill and Invest Young Farmer Scholarships offer up to $10 000 for each eligible farmer — with $5000 to upskill through training and study in areas like farm management, financial literacy, product development or innovative farming techniques.
Once they complete their studies, recipients are eligible for an additional funding boost of up to $5000 to invest on-farm or in professional development — putting their new skills into practice and boosting their businesses.
Mr Murphy, who milks 500 cows producing 4.8 million litres annually, said he would be studying at Goulburn Ovens Institute of TAFE in Shepparton next year to use the scholarship to fill a void in his family’s business.
“I decided I wanted to get more information about employing people and that side of the business and doing it properly,” he said.
“As the business expands, we are employing more people and it’s an area of the farm that we can really grow.
“I saw that (the scholarship) as a good opportunity and motivator to further my knowledge in HR and business management.
“I think there is a lot I can learn from that side of things, so I’m not necessarily bogged down in the day-to-day running of the farm but sort of looking outside the farm to manage risk and keep moving forward.”
Next year, Mr Murphy will be studying a Certificate V in both HR and Business Management, before using his second $5000 to build a staff room for the farm.
Despite the issues facing the industry, Mr Murphy was positive about its future.
“There’s a lot of issues we are facing in the industry and we are better off acknowledging the problems instead of sweeping them under the rug,” he said.
“I’m positive (about the future) even with the issues we do have at the moment.
“We had a reasonable winter, which allowed us to grow a bit of hay and fodder.
“There’s definitely a strong milk price there and plenty of competition locally between processors, which I think will benefit us.
“We need to take advantage of that strong milk price as much as we can at the moment.
“I think the world want for dairy is still growing and I think we can still play a role in producing milk for that market, whether it’s domestically or internationally.”