Australian and Kiwi farmers tour NZ farms
skip to content

Leading Australian and Kiwi farmers tour South Island agri operations

Fifty leading farmers from across Australia and New Zealand visited farming operations throughout the lower South Island earlier this month as part of a Rabobank Business Management Programs Alumni Tour.

 The two-day tour brought together graduates of the bank’s two Business Management Programs the Farm Managers Program (FMP) and the Executive Development Program (EDP) and included visits to a number of farms in the Central Otago and Southland regions. The six farms that made up the tour itinerary were all owned and operated by Business Management Program alumni and showcased a diverse range of agricultural industries including dairy, sheep, beef, deer, wool, cropping, grape growing and wine making.

Rabobank New Zealand CEO Todd Charteris said the alumni tour provided a great opportunity for former participants of Rabobank’s Business Management Programs to visit the operations of other graduates and to expand their network of farmers.

 To date, more than 1000 farmers have graduated from the two programs, with this year marking the thirteenth annual FMP and twentieth EDP.

Mr Charteris attended the dinner function in Queenstown held on the final day of the tour and said the tour had helped to break down barriers and facilitate knowledge sharing across the generations and across the Tasman.

The tour had a great mix of older and younger farmers, Australians and Kiwis and it was wonderful to join the participants for dinner and share the energy within the alumni group,” he said

“When you see and hear the passion in the group discussions you really appreciate the value of these types of events.”

Peter Draper from New South Wales was one of the Australian farmers who travelled across the Tasman to attend the event. Mr Draper was joined on the tour by his wife Erin and said the tour had been a great experience that both he and his wife were really glad they’d been part of.

 “I completed the EDP program in 2016 and it had a big impact on our business so I was keen to visit some of the other former participants’ farms and hear from them how attendance on the course had impacted their operations, he said.

“All the businesses we visited were pretty diverse and I found it really interesting to hear about the goals and aspirations of the various farm owners and managers."

Mr Draper, who along with his wife runs a 675 hectare irrigated cropping and livestock operation located in Leeton, in southern New South Wales, said he’d been really impressed by the operations visited on the tour and in particular how some of the businesses were marketing their products.

“I’ve always been impressed by Kiwi farmers ability to be good marketers and it was fascinating to hear about how some of the operations we visited have been able to make connections into China and are now marketing their products directly into this market, he said.

I think New Zealand’s key agricultural industries have a lot of similarities with the rice industry in Australia which has also done a good job with its marketing and is similarly export-focused. When you’ve got to export the majority of your product, you’ve got to be good at marketing and several of the businesses we visited were a good illustration of this.

Mr Draper said he was also surprised at how some of the operations had been able to improve production on the tougher hill country land.

 “A few of the farms we visited have been able to grow crops like fodder beat and brassica on some of the steeper land and lift their stocking rates and production, he said.

“We were able to pick up lots of little bits and pieces of information as we toured around that will be helpful in our own operation and we’ll be making an effort to try and attend any future alumni events.”

This month’s tour was the seventh Rabobank BMP alumni event, with previous programs held in both New Zealand’s North and South islands, Tasmania and North West New South Wales.

The alumni tour runs annually in March and is open to all graduates from both of Rabobank’s Business Management Programs.

Rabobank Australia & New Zealand is a part of the global Rabobank Group, the world’s leading specialist in food and agribusiness banking. Rabobank has nearly 120 years’ experience providing customised banking and finance solutions to businesses involved in all aspects of food and agribusiness. Rabobank is structured as a cooperative and operates in 40 countries, servicing the needs of approximately 8.6 million clients worldwide through a network of more than 1000 offices and branches. Rabobank Australia & New Zealand is one of Australasia’s leading agricultural lenders and a significant provider of business and corporate banking and financial services to the region’s food and agribusiness sector. The bank has 94 branches throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Media contacts:

David Johnston
Marketing & Media Relations Manager
Rabobank New Zealand
Phone: 04 819 2711 or 027 477 8153

Denise Shaw
Head of Media Relations 
Rabobank Australia & New Zealand 
Phone: +612 8115 2744 or +61 2 439 603 525