Wairarapa farmer takes home leading trans-Tasman Farm Management Award

Wairarapa farm operations manager Patrick Allen has taken out the 2024 Rabobank Management Project Award, a business management prize for up-and-coming farmers across New Zealand and Australia.

Selected from a group of New Zealand and Australia’s most progressive farmers – graduates of the 2023 Rabobank Farm Managers Programme (FMP) – Mr Allen was recognised for his business management project, which highlights how he and his wife Claire started a new horse-trading business – Mata Horse Stud & Traders – as a means to create capital to go towards their future farming goals.

Created for emerging primary producers, the FMP focusses on the development of business management skills, with an emphasis on people management, effective communication and sustainable business planning.

Mr Allen is the Operations Manager of Tinui Downs Farms, a 1600ha sheep and beef operation situated in Tinui, 45 km north-east of Masterton. The business is made up of four farms, all working together as an intensive breeding and trading operation.

Wairarapa farmer takes home leading trans-Tasman
Farm Management Award

In his management project report, Mr Allen outlined how he and his wife had been looking at ways to generate the necessary capital to get into an equity partnership on a sheep and beef property.

“We own a surplus of horses with free grazing available to us, and we realised we were in a great position to start up a new business breeding and selling horses,” he said.

“So, a year ago, we started Mata Horse Stud & Traders which trains and breeds sport horses. And over the last 12 months we’ve managed to sell six horses as well as doubling our breeding stock.

“We’ve turned what was a small hobby into a profitable side business, and this is really helping to build the capital we need to take the next step in our farming careers.”

FMP Programme facilitator Melonie Sheppard said Mr Allen’s management report clearly demonstrated he had thought about, applied and then refined a number of the tools, theories and concepts learned on the FMP programme.

“Developing a horse stud business drew on a personal passion and works alongside Patrick's role on farm brilliantly,” she said.

“Identification and evolution of this opportunity clearly showed Patrick had drawn on numerous learnings including financial management, growing the business and business planning.

“In particular, how he and Claire identified the challenges and found workable, cost-effective solutions, was commendable.”

Mr Allen was presented with the Management Project Award at the 2024 Farm Managers Programme Graduation Dinner in Yarra Valley, Victoria on June 20. The event was attended by a selection of graduates from last year’s FMP course as well as this year’s FMP participants and other agricultural industry leaders.

Accepting the award and the accompanying $2000 cash prize, Mr Allen said the FMP was a great course that had helped him grow as a farm manager.

“The programme covers a wide range of topics and helps to give you the tools and theories to take advantage of the many opportunities that might arise in your farming career,” he said.


Participants on the 2024 Rabobank Farm Managers Programme 

“It’s also a great place to network with other positive and ambitious young farmers who are excited about the future of agriculture, and I made some great mates on the course.”

The annual Rabobank Farm Managers Programme has been run since 2006 and offers farmers from across New Zealand and Australia an opportunity to develop and enhance their business management skills. The 2024 programme was held in Yarra Valley, Victoria from 16-21 June. This year’s course was attended by 37 farmers from across a range of sectors with nine of these participants coming from New Zealand. In addition to the classroom-based sessions, this year’s programme included a visit to a local shopping centre as part of an exercise focused on consumer insights.

Attendees leave the course with new skills, techniques and a commercially-driven perspective on farm management. All graduates of the programme are required to submit a management project following the course to help reinforce and embed the new skills they have developed. The projects are assessed by a panel of judges and the winning project is announced at the following year’s graduation dinner.

Rabobank New Zealand is a part of the global Rabobank Group, the world’s leading specialist in food and agribusiness banking. Rabobank has more than 125 years’ experience providing customized banking and finance solutions to businesses involved in all aspects of food and agribusiness. Rabobank is structured as a cooperative and operates in 36 countries, servicing the needs of about nine 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 27 offices throughout New Zealand.


Media contacts:

David Johnston
Marketing & Media Relations Manager
Rabobank New Zealand
Phone: 04 819 2711 or 027 477 8153
Email: david.johnston@rabobank.com

Denise Shaw
Head of Media Relations 
Rabobank Australia & New Zealand 
Phone: +612 8115 2744 or +61 2 439 603 525 
Email: denise.shaw@rabobank.com