11 May 2023

Riverina farmers urged to 'invest' in risk management

| Chris Roe
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Flood-covered fence

Risk management is an overlooked aspect of financial security. Photo: File.

With natural disasters and “unprecedented” weather events becoming more frequent, farmers and regional business owners are being encouraged to get on the front foot in managing their risks.

“There is a lot of risk in farming, and it is generally underpinned by the equity and growing equity in the farm businesses, especially over the last few years, but that can’t go on forever,” said farm business consultant David Brown, who will lead a series of Natural Hazards Workshops in Wagga on Friday.

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“We need to make sure that we know how much the risks cost as best we can, and then understand how much we have available to invest in managing that cost.

“If the impact on the cash flow of the businesses is too great, then it could be catastrophic, so we don’t want a scenario where businesses don’t control the risks.

“We want them to be proactive about understanding the risks innate to their business’s profitability and long-term sustainability.”

David Brown

Farm business consultant David Brown will lead a series of Natural Hazards Workshops in Wagga on Friday. Photo: Supplied.

The government-funded event is hosted by the Rural Financial Counselling Service NSW and is free to farmers and small-business owners.

David will work with participants to help them develop a personalised risk management plan for their business and put strategies in place.

“A core part of the workshops will be activities with the producers and the small-business owners in the room working together to identify the key natural disaster risks that they have in the region and to workshop ideas on how to manage them,” he said.

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“A big part of what I want to do is to provide the participants with a real easy, logical decision-making framework and a key part of that will be to acknowledge managing your risk costs money, but it’s actually an investment.”

Support agencies and agribusiness lenders will also attend the event to connect and explain what they do and David said it was important to stay up to date with information and opportunities.

“With a farm in particular, it’s an inheritable asset, it’s a large asset, and it’s pretty capital-intensive, so it’s not something people usually get into from the outside,” David said.

“Most farmers have come into it through inheritance and haven’t necessarily been well versed in risk management or even farm financial management, so this is a way to help them upskill themselves.”

The Navigate Your Farming & Small Business Natural Hazards Workshop is this Friday and you can register here.

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