Lessons from the world

YOUNG Tasmanian producers Ruby Daly and Caitlin Radford have returned from Denmark with a new outlook on farming in their respective regions. The pair recently attended the international farm management congress in Scandinavia.

Ms Daly said she had been overwhelmed with information and was motivated to share her experiences and inspire the current generation of farmers. “My best tip was from an American farmer Jay Smith. His words have really rang true with me and I hope others can experience the same as I did,” Ms Daly said. “ ‘Being a farmer is fun, but ag travel is the most important part of farming’. “This is so true. I have been completely overwhelmed with information and data to try and digest with our business, but I have never been more motivated to come home and share all my experiences to help inspire the current generation of farmers to see how they farm around the world.”

After commencing the pre-tour in Bergen, Norway, the Tasmanian pair met around 30 other industry people from around the world, jumped on a bus and started heading around farms. “The one thing that stood out to me was the fact that Norway’s farming land is small but they use every piece of land they have,” Ms Daly said. “This is one lesson I believe we can learn from Norwegian people – to utilise every acre we have available to us in Tasmania.”

After a couple of days in Norway the group crossed the border into Sweden where farming seemed different. “We visited so many different farming styles from three brothers farming 530ha of land to a vineyard in Sweden who must manage with snow on the vineyard. “What motivated me was their passion to make the most of what they had and then pass their business on to the next generation – for as many as fourteen generations.”

Ms Daly said a highlight was meeting 14 “current generation farmers” from all over the world with completely different farming backgrounds. “We discovered that no matter how big or small we each farmed our problems and issues are, largely, the same.” Ms Radford agreed the trip had been eye opening. “We experienced everything from agri tourism, large share farming set ups, the Väderstad company, to small 25-head dairy farms that are common in Norway,” Ms Radford said. “I have brought home so many ideas to implement into my businesses.

The networking for me was the most important part of the trip.” Ms Daly said the experience had inspired her to help set up a peer support group for the next generation which helps expand professional development opportunities in the agriculture industry. “Professional growth and development should be readily available for our next generation farmers but at the current time there’s very little with which we can support each other in a productive social interaction.

“Although we were all in diverse groups, we all came to the same conclusion, you need to understand the current risks to your business, having a strong leadership with clearly defined roles responsible for the future, have a clear plan and review it every 12 months and you can farm with your heart, but you must run your farm as a business first.”

Both women have encouraged young farmers to see and learn how others farm at the next IFMA Congress in Saskatoon in Canada in July 2024.