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Strengthening rural communities

Client Councils

True to our cooperative values, the Rabobank Client Council network was developed to have regular conversations with our clients.

We listen and learn about the issues that are most important to them, their rural communities and the wider industry.

Read more about how community initiatives by our Client Councils are funded through the Rabo Community Fund.

Client Councils Hero Banner

Financial Skills Workshop

Looking for a one-day workshop to sharpen your financial skills? Apply for one of Rabobank’s Financial Skills Workshops facilitated by Lawrence Field (Rural Field Consultants).

The workshops are open to the rural community including clients and non-clients. Across New Zealand and Australia, Rabobank and its network of Client Councils are aiming to put 5,000 primary producers through Financial Skills workshops by 2025.

A forum for farmers to make a real difference

Our Client Councils cover a lot of ground, they speak their minds on economic, social, environmental, cultural issues and more.

At their meetings, issues facing the agricultural sector are considered, and ideas are exchanged. These lead to initiatives, strategies and ideas that will advance farming and rural communities.

Client Councils help us understand the real issues that are important to you, rural communities and wider industry.

Client Council themes

Long-term Industry Capacity and Agricultural Education

Attracting and retaining new people has always been an ongoing challenge for agriculture. We aim to create better awareness of the various career opportunities and exciting pathways available to the industry.

We also support young farmers with a range of workshops and mentoring initiatives designed to improve their skills in a number of areas to help them advance their agricultural careers.

Client Council Educational Key Theme

Environmental Sustainability

Environmental compliance, water availability, water quality, erosion and waste management are all important factors to keeping farms sustainable. Our goal is to identify the main issues and how we can support our clients.

We also provide a platform for our clients to share best practices.

Client Council Sustainability Key Theme

Rural / Urban Connection

There is often unbalanced communication causing misconceptions of farming practices impacting on farming’s reputation.

We aim to increase awareness of modern farming practices and food production with urban audiences by organising and supporting initiatives that bridge rural / urban connection.

Client Council Educational Key Theme

Rural Wellbeing

Access to health care, denial of health issues and the need for early identification of mental health issues are some of the challenges faced by rural communities.

Together with our clients, we aim to increase awareness of the importance of farmers’ well-being.

Client Council Rural Wellbeing Key Theme

Adaption / Disruption

Proactively reacting to industry and regional change, for example regarding emerging alternative proteins. We aim to dive deeper into the challenges in the ever changing agricultural sector.

Client Council  Adaption Disruption Key Theme

Client Council initiatives

Proudly supporting NZ schools

Garden to Table

The national food education charity Garden to Table helps to empower tamariki across New Zealand to grow, harvest, prepare and share great food.

Rabobank New Zealand Chief Executive Todd Charteris said the new partnership would build on the organisations’ shared values around sustainable food production, health and well-being, agri education and growing stronger communities.

“Many of us would agree that over recent decades we’ve seen a general decline in knowledge and skills in the garden and kitchen. And this decline in basic life-skills is a contributing factor towards negative environmental, health and social impacts,” he said.

Garden to Table

Enhancing financial literacy

Grow Board Game

Developed as part of a joint initiative between Rabobank’s Upper South Island Client Council, Lincoln University and the Agribusiness in Schools Programme, the Grow game was created to help build knowledge and understanding of food production in New Zealand.

The new game was launched in late 2022 and will be used as a study tool by year 11 students studying NCEA Agribusiness from 2023.

Grow focuses on the financial, social, and environmental aspects of food production and also incorporates elements of Mātauranga Māori. It touches on all the major topics included within the NCEA agribusiness curriculum and provides students with a fun way to acquire and reinforce the course content.

Grow Board Game

Financial Skills Workshops

An initiative of our Client Councils, Rabobank’s Financial Skills Workshops were developed to enhance farmers financial literacy skills and advance their agricultural careers.

Facilitated by Lawrence Field (Rural Field Consultants), the two modules cover one-day sessions on all things financial. The module 1 workshop covers financial skills, reading financial statements, key ratios and calculations and what banks are looking for when assessing a farm business. The module 2 workshop covers budgeting, business planning, and variations.

The workshops are open to the rural community including clients and non-clients. Across New Zealand and Australia, the bank and its network of Client Councils are aiming to put 5,000 primary producers through Financial Skills workshops by 2025.

Growing Future Farmers

Growing Future Farmers is a structured two-year educational course which provides graduates with specialised agricultural industry training and development opportunities.

The idea for the Programme stemmed from a Lower North Island Rabobank Client Council meeting in 2018 where the Council discussed ideas to address the critical skills shortage in the sheep, beef and deer sector. Following a pilot in 2019, GFF was officially launched in 2020 and this year some 60 students across the country participated in the Programme. GFF now has an established board structure and employs several permanent staff including a General Manager and Liaisons Manager.

Ag Pathways

The Lower South Island Client Council developed the AgPathways program in 2015 to help overcome the challenge of attracting young people into careers in agriculture taken from one of the client council themes of ‘Long term capacity and agricultural education’

The 1 ½ day workshops are focused around business planning with topics covering people management, managing business and risk management. Facilitation is completed primarily from local professional and intermediaries.

The key to the success is the participation / interaction of the local client council members who enthusiastically sit with the groups and share their own knowledge and experiences throughout the day and a half.

One of the most favoured sessions are the ‘war stories’ where we invite successful farmers to come in to tell their story of how they achieved their goals towards farm ownership.

Supporting local food producers

Horowhenua Taste Trail

As part of its efforts to tackle the urban /rural connection, the Lower North Island Client have been proud supporters of the Horowhenua Taste Trail since its inception. The Trail was first run in 2017 and is an annual adventure through Horowhenua’s specialist food producers.

The event celebrates the richness and diversity of all that is produced in the bite sized district. The Horowhenua Taste Trail provides attendees with the opportunity to get behind the scenes with a range of local food producers to learn more about their operations as well as the chance to sample delicious fresh produce.

Rabobank’s Lower North Island Client Council is proud to support the Horowhenua Taste Trail as the event provides a great opportunity for the public to learn more about food production.

Horowhenua Taste Trail