Business workshop in Cowell helps farmers with finance

Eight local farming families gathered at the Cowell Football/Netball Club last week to take part in a Rural Business Support workshop in managing the financial difficulties of drought.

The state government funded workshops are part of a long term project to improve financial practice in agriculture which has involved about 100 farms statewide over the past three years.

Thirteen farming families from as far as Kimba, Port Kenny and Wudinna are involved in the program, which will also involve confidential on-farm meetings to review the family plan of each participant.

Rural Business Support business development manager Nigel Robinson said business skills were key to running a profitable farming business, and drought could be used as the "trigger" for families to review their plan.

Mr Robinson said the program was working with farmers in drought affected areas to encourage them to "use drought to hit the reset button" on their business.

During the workshops farmers were introduced to web tools that can assist them in assessing their finances and improve the business skills of benchmarking, profit allocation and planning.

Mr Robinson said benchmarking by actively comparing costs and production figures against past years and other farms across the state could assist farmers in having greater control over their profit.

"By using benchmarks we're confident farming families will significantly improve their position," he said.

He praised the Cowell farming community for their "notable" openness in discussing their financial and personal wellbeing following the efforts of wellbeing coordinator Jasmin Piggott.

"I've worked across the state... there's a much greater emphasis on wellbeing (in the Cowell region)," Mr Robinson said.

He said Rural Business Support were hoping to expand the program in coming years.