Producer demand prompts more BusinessEDGE workshops for southern Australia

Beef Central, 17/05/2016

Helping livestock producers to improve financial literacy and business management skills is the focus of an expanded series of workshops being offered by Meat & Livestock Australia across southern Australia in coming weeks.

Southern BusinessEDGE workshops will be launched at:

  • Bairnsdale, Victoria on 25 and 26 May
    Launceston, Tasmania on 15 and 16 June
    Albury, NSW on 7 and 8 July

Mainstream workshops will then follow across all southern states.

Consultant Phil Holmes wrote the original BusinessEDGE course for northern beef producers six years ago and, in conjunction with Bush Agribusiness director Ian McLean, has modified its content to have specific relevance to southern Australia.

“In most enterprises, whether it be beef, sheep or cropping, 80 per cent of the profit generated in a decade is generated from just three of those ten years. Unless you are ready to capture all of what those three years have to offer and manage those profits, you can get left behind,” Dr Holmes said.

“Accounting and business principles are the same regardless of where your livestock business is based, but the workshop material has been modified to suit southern businesses which often comprise more than one enterprise.

“Many southern producers think they are reducing business risk by managing more than one enterprise, but while they might be reducing market risk, they’re increasing production risk and not many people understand that. All they are doing in most cases is swapping one form of business risk for another.

“Prudent and proper debt management is a big part of the course The evidence is that most producers do not understand how to use debt productively for long-term wealth creation. Too often, it just becomes an anchor on the performance of the business.

“The workshops explain why your income tax return is of limited value in business decision making and how you can set up and use management accounts, which are very different from the compliance accounts that accountants are traditionally responsible for.

“Preparing a set of accounts for tax compliance purposes is very different to a set of accounts to be used for business decision making.”

Understanding the key profit drivers for the whole business, the herd and the flock, and how to allocate capital in a rational manner for a better return on the investment is also an important part of the workshop.

MLA General Manager, On-farm Innovation and Adoption, Dr Matthew McDonagh, said the two-day BusinessEDGE workshops have been successfully run across northern Australia since 2010 with almost 500 participants completing the course so far.

“Following on from their success with northern beef producers, and prompted by the demand from producers seeking to increase their business management skills, MLA has facilitated the expansion of the workshops to southern producers,” Dr McDonagh said.

“MLA has invested in the development of materials for the BusinessEDGE workshops, and is supporting the launch workshops in each southern state.

“The workshops will use relevant southern business management scenarios to understand business principles and financial management practices, meaning producers will not be required to bring their own financial data with them.”

Source: MLA. For more information about southern BusinessEDGE workshops, contact MLA’s Innovation and Adoption Manager – Grass Fed Beef, Jane Wightman, on 0416 189 775 or email:

The BusinessEDGE workshops are continuing throughout northern Australia, delivered by Bush Agribusiness director Ian McLean. For information about the next northern BusinessEDGE workshops visit:


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  1. Tom Toynton, 17/05/2016

    Their always seem too be plenty of Mla workshops in the North and South but nothing is ever held between vast distance between Wagga and Roma.

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