The business of farming

Who’s on your team?

By Charlotte Glass, Director and founder of Agri Magic Ltd

The business of farming is becoming more businesslike – who’s on your team?

Over the past eight years the regulations associated with farming have multiplied. We are expecting more soon with the National Policy Statement on Biodiversity imminent and then another round relating to greenhouse gas emissions too. New Zealand is catching up with many other parts of the world when it comes to complex laws that impact the business of farming. It can be frustrating, but it isn’t likely to go away.

The owners and directors of farm businesses need to be making themselves aware of the regulations and working out how they are going to manage the various compliance risks for their farm businesses. If you choose not to act on them all immediately, then you should at the very least know what the consequences could be for making that choice. Ignoring them doesn’t fix anything.

Different businesses will choose different strategies in response to the emerging regulations, and every owner should be aware of their obligations so they can work out their own plan of attack in a way that is right for them. Although professionals are available to help facilitate a farm business strategy, each business owner or director should have their own strategy customised for their purpose and what is important to them. Assembling your hand-picked team of supports can be essential in this. Larger multi-farm operations tend to operate more sophisticated governance structures compared to smaller businesses, but whether you have a full board with several directors or just a business advisory group, it really doesn’t matter. You need to know the purpose of your business, be able to articulate to others what is important about how you conduct your business (your business values) and have a plan to respond to the various rules and risks that affect you. If the number and complexity of emerging rules is feeling like an ever-growing burden for you as a farmer, then why not get a team of people around you. That is how most businesses work, after all. You can share the load and you may discover a whole world of other ideas out there that could inject the energy you will need to succeed in farming into the next ten years. Kiwis are great at teams. Who will you pick to be in yours?

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