Resilient rural businesses

Martin Pentecost  

Martin Pentecost bsc Grad Dip Bus AFB
Director, Powers Agribusiness & Finance
T: 07 4928 1555 | M: 0408 881 843
E: martin.pentecost@powers.net.au W: www.powers.net.au

Martin has over 20 years experience in Australia's beef cattle industry, having worked and consulted for companies such as Consolidated Pastoral Company, Australian Agricultural Company, Stanbroke Pastoral Company, Colonial Agriculture and MDH Pty Ltd, as well as some of the largest family-owned livestock operations in the country.

Presentation: Resilient Rural Businesses

Business Resilience

  • The ability to quickly adapt to disruptions while maintaining continuous business operations and safeguarding people and assets.
  • Goes beyond disaster recovery by offering post disaster strategies to avoid downtime, shore up vulnerabilities and maintain business operations in the face of additional disruptions

Resilient Rural Businesses

Scan business environment for changes, trends and opportunities

Scan the business environment for relevant changes or trends or emerging opportunities and threats. This includes business issues (prices, costs, demand shifts, supply chain issues); natural environmental issues (weather and climate, biodiversity, invasive species,; social issues (community attitudes towards animal welfare, organic or "green" products, desire for local produce); and regulatory issues (effects of domestic and international regulatory issues)

Be Prepared for Disruption

Have contingency plans to cope with realistic, if unlikely, scenarios. Late season breaks challenge the growth potential of annual pastures, and therefore the carrying capacity of grazing enterprises. A contingency plan would envisage selling or agisting stock upon certain trigger-level shortfalls of rain by certain predefined dates being reached. Further contingency plans are made for severe drought and its implications.

Be Flexible

When a disruption occurs, a non-standard approach can be readily used. Flexibility can be acquired at some cost, often relatively low, by deliberately building redundancy into the system. An example is to have the capacity to make last minute changes, such as the foresight to have booked some feedlot space so that if the above mentioned agistment is not available there is still the option of moving cattle off property to value add.

Strong Networks

They have lots of rich, mutually-supportive and trustful relationships with other growers, suppliers, service providers and their family and employees. These networks have rich information flows. Social capital is high. People in the networks with needed expertise and information are highly regarded. As a result, when an opportunity arises to adopt a new practice the producer has ready access to information for an informed decision.

Experiment and Innovate

They do small-scale experiments all the time: to see if it works, or would be a better method. These then help in adapting to change in the future. For example, they do experiments with different breeds to take opportunistic advantage of potentially increasing changing markets. Then when larger scale changes are called for, they have information and experience concerning the options available. As a result, when the trade-off between market premium and yield shifts to favour higher yielding carcasses (or less Brahman content), they know which variety will work in their setting.

Know and Share Goals

The family, together with their employees take the time to build mutual understanding about the explicit goals and values used in the business. Employees and family members add to creativity and flexibility in dealing with a crisis, because they are engaged and motivated.

Look After Yourself

As a vital cog in the wheel of your business, take the time to recharge the batteries, physically and mentally.

Last updated: 19 December 2016