Top Producers Forum

We’ve just arrived home from the Top Producers Workshop in Adelaide. This was a two day event hosted by the Farm Owners Academy with a focus on increasing farm profitability & learning how to run a better business.

There were over 250 farmers there from right across Australia & NZ. We thought we’d share some of the key take-home messages for us from the event:

  1. Either you control the business or it will control you: Where do you currently sit? Are you flat out working for your business & it’s giving you very little in return? By changing your strategy & mindset this can be turned around so that your business starts working for you & gives you the freedom you want.
  2. You must remove yourself from the coalface: You need to step ‘outside’ the everyday operations of your business to set goals & targets for what you want to achieve. Otherwise the years will pass by & although you’ve been busy you won’t actually have made much progress financially.
  3. Only 15% of financial success is due to technical knowledge, 85% is the ability to lead& analyse: We are all trained to be great technicians, not great business owners. In general farmers need to spend a lot more time analysing their business & using this information to make more informed & profitable decisions.
  4. Don’t major in minor things: On a farm there are enough jobs to keep us busy for a lifetime, but are we focusing on the tasks that actually move us towards our goals? Creating a system to ensure the high value tasks are done is critical, you must stay on track & not get caught in the ‘river of busyness’.
  5. A good business structure is key: If you want to maximise production & avoid conflict then everyone needs to know who’s responsible for what. Even if its only a husband & wife team, write down all the components of the business & decide who is going to be responsible for what. Out-source roles that neither of you enjoy or are skilled at.
  6. Complex is easy, simple is what we have to work at: As farming businesses grow they tend to become more & more complicated. Adding extra enterprises can be a big trap, they often compete for your resources & force you to spread your expertise too thin. Doing a smaller number of enterprises well is a better choice. Also try & put simple systems in place along the way.
  7. Burnout is the number one reason people close their doors, not money: Working yourself into the ground is not the answer, you need to look after yourself. Recharging your batteries regularly is key to keeping a clear focus, remaining positive & staying motivated.
  8. A comfort zone is a beautiful place but nothing ever grows there: You need to push yourself. Even if you don’t want to grow your business you still need to challenge your thinking, be constantly learning & be brave enough to put improvements in place.
  9. Often the greatest businesses are created in the toughest conditions: This really hit home for us! There will never be a perfect time or a perfect season. There are always opportunities to be created or capitalised on, its about finding them, making a plan & acting on it.
  10. Its the people you meet along the way...Whilst the presenters were fantastic, we also met some amazing, like-minded farmers.

This is just a snap-shot, we learnt so much valuable info over the two days.

Prior to attending this forum we’d completed the Take Control Program offered by Farm Owners Academy. This is a self-paced, online study program that we would highly recommend to anyone as a great first step. 

To learn more visit 

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