By Melissa Keogh
One of South Australia’s leading regional grain marketers and agribusiness consultancies is helping local farmers to better manage seasonal challenges by introducing an international insight into the business.
Rural Directions based in Clare in the state’s Mid North has begun an international exchange program, welcoming 26-year-old consultant George Lane all the way from Leicestershire, England.
George, who works for the UK-based Brown & Co, has arrived in SA for four weeks to work with Rural Directions across the state’s prime cropping and grazing regions.
Rural Directions has been around since 1997 in aim of helping local farmers adapt to technology, implement advanced management systems, and give advice and analysis on particular situations or opportunities.
Their work includes liaising with farm businesses to increase income and reduce costs, save time, make sound investment decisions, give independent agronomic advice, and to help advance industry development.
Rural Directions operations manager Brenton Greenslade says the employee exchange, a first between the Clare business and Brown & Co, will be reciprocated in 2019 when a Rural Directions employee travels to the UK.
“It’s an opportunity for our employees to gain an outside view on how things are done and then be able to bring it back and apply it for the benefit of our clients here in Australia,” he says.
Delivering a different perspective and learning how local farmers are dealing with current drought conditions are just a couple of outcomes expected by George.
“I’m really hoping to see another perspective to how people approach and deal with agricultural businesses, along with how they deal with the challenges which they face such as drought,” he says.
“I have experience in a lot of similar areas that Rural Directions specialises in, hopefully I can bring something new to the table or even spark new thoughts and ideas.”
Rural Directions also has offices in Freeling in the Lower Light, Loxton in the Riverland and Naracoorte in the South East, as well as an office in Dubbo, New South Wales.
Agribusiness consultant Patrick Redden says Rural Directions delivers advice for about 10% of the state’s crop.
“Rural Directions exists to add value to our clients, who are individual family farming businesses, those within the corporate ag sector, and industry groups like Grains Research and Development Corporation, Meat and Livestock Australia, Australian Wool Innovation and Dairy Australia,” he says.
“It’s about helping families to grow and develop their business to increase profitability and sustainability, while identifying opportunities for the future.”
Much of Rural Directions’ current work involves helping growers through current climate challenges, such as drought and frosts.
Some parts of Australia are in the grip of a drought or are affected by it, creating less than average production and bringing drought-related stress to farmers and their families.
Patrick says Rural Directions helps keep mindsets positive and helps clients to focus on factors within their control.
“We can be a sounding board with independent views on these stressful decisions such as do they leave a crop for grain or cut it for hay?
“When we work with a business and support the client, we are helping to remove the emotion from it and having a clear-headed approach.”
With 23 employees based across Rural Directions’ five offices, Patrick says there is potential for further growth in the business, with two new graduate employees starting soon.
Header photo features Rural Directions employees Brendan Wallis, Brenton Greenslade and Tony Craddock.
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