The tail off in dairy farm investment has led Feilding-based MyFarm to start a new company advising dairy farmers. By: JILL GALLOWAY
MyFarm Business’ parent company AGInvest Holdings chairman Grant Rowan said farm investments were prone to be cyclical.
As a result MyFarm had been growing its non-dairy business, and looked to use staff that knew about dairying, said Rowan who owns three Southland dairy farms and will be on the adviser team.
He said the six people who were part of the dairy business all brought first hand knowledge to the table.
They had accumulated knowledge over lifetimes in the dairy industry and realised there was a lot of opportunity to help dairy farmers, he said.
“Our point of difference is we will look at the whole businesss from start to finish not just one part of it.”
MyFarm had about $500 million worth of investments in 25 dairy farms, five horticultural investments in vineyards and kiwifruit and about 10 sheep and beef farms. A commercial property would soon be added to the portfolio.
All properties were owned by investors and run by the MyFarm.
Chief executive Andrew Watters said the aim was to make dairy farms more profitable and valuable by putting in place the best farm management and financial systems available.
“Since we established MyFarm in 1992, our team has gained a wealth of knowledge and experience in running dairy farm businesses. We’ve also broken new ground with Figured – the first farm accounting software to interface with Xero and empower farmers to work with real time financial information in their daily decision making.”
Watters said MyFarm Business could help clients with financial management, farm system analysis, business management as well as strategy and governance and exit planning, equity raising and succession planning.
Farm systems analysis was a chance to identify what was working and what was not, he said.
Farmers’ break-even milk prices would be analysed to see if they were as low as possible and “real numbers” applied to production systems to assess their efficiency so change could be identified and action plans written.
Rachel Baker, a dairy consultant and veterinarian as well as a sharemilker, based in Hawke’s Bay, said the six consultants would look at a coaching approach.
The six consultants would work throughout New Zealand and were based in different regions.
Rowan said there was no geographical area that needed advice more than another, instead it was more of a mindset among some dairy farmers.
He said in the early 2000s, almost all their investors were dairy farmers or recently retired farmers.
“But now, it is people from all walks of life. And they want to invest in rural New Zealand.”‘
He said investors were no longer interested in the volatility of the market.
“Investors now get a reliable income and monthly payments.”