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Trans-Tasman agricultural business management program returning to New Zealand in 2019



Applications for the prestigious Rabobank Business Management Programs have opened for 2019, with the Farm Managers Program – the course for up-and-coming young farm leaders – returning to New Zealand for the first time in a decade.

Announcing the opening of applications for this year’s intake for the two residential programs – the Executive Development Program (EDP) and the Farm Managers Program (FMP), which are designed for progressive New Zealand and Australian farmers looking to take their businesses to the next level – Rabobank New Zealand CEO Todd Charteris said it was fantastic news to have the Farm Managers Program returning to Kiwis shores for the first time since it was last held in Christchurch in 2009.

This year’s FMP – a program developed for younger farmers looking to enhance their management capabilities – will again take place in Christchurch, from June 23 to 28.

The EDP – which caters for experienced business owners or senior managers – runs as two modules (a year apart) and this year will be held at the Macquarie Graduate School of Management in Sydney with the first module running from August 25 to 30 and the second scheduled for July 2020.

Mr Charteris said there was a strong appetite for ongoing business education among Kiwi farmers, with close to half of the 1200 graduates from both programs over the 20 years since the Executive Development Program was launched coming from New Zealand. The Farm Managers Program has been running since 2006.

“New Zealand farmers are extremely progressive and have a strong drive to continually improve their knowledge and develop their businesses, and this has been very evident in the enthusiasm they have shown for the business management programs,” he said. “And this year, young farmers interested in attending the Farm Managers Program will have the opportunity to do so right here in New Zealand.”

Mr Charteris said it was “possibly more important now than ever for farming businesses to invest in the management skills of their people”.

“While Rabobank expects another strong showing from New Zealand’s agricultural sector in 2019, with commodity pricing, weather conditions and the exchange rate all anticipated to align in NZ’s farmers favour, there are also several downside risks,” he said. “These include concerns over the Chinese economy and the potential trade fallout from the US- China trade war and Brexit.

“While you can never fully future-proof farming businesses from these types of risk, many can be managed through strategic long-term planning. The programs equip participants with knowledge in topics such as financial and risk management, strategies for growth, negotiation, leadership, communication and innovation.”

Mr Charteris – himself a graduate of the Executive Development Program – said another key benefit was the interaction with other farmers, with the relationships formed on the programs often continuing long after their conclusion.

“The residential aspect of the program allows participants the opportunity to build a strong network of like-minded farmers from across New Zealand and Australia,” he said.

“And in many cases relationships started on the programs endure far beyond the completion of the course with the regular Business Management Program alumni events providing an ongoing opportunity to re-connect with other program graduates.”

Applications for the FMP close on Friday, March 29 and the EDP on Thursday, April 26. Further information and applications can be found at

Rabobank 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 about 8.6 million clients worldwide through a network of close to 1000 offices and branches. Rabobank New Zealand is one of the country's leading agricultural lenders and a significant provider of business and corporate banking and financial services to the New Zealand food and agribusiness sector. The bank has 32 branches throughout 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 


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