This is an unusual role far less about hands on ag consultancy than managing, supporting and developing a team of (currently) 12 passionate ag advisors in various specialties and at varying levels of seniority.
It’s about building a better machine oiling, fuelling and maintaining it, understanding its idiosyncrasies, spreading its footprint, nursing it through a period of growth, refining its culture and blending it seamlessly into our integrated professional services offering.
You are not expected to be out there drumming up new business. Your role is to ensure we have the resources and systems to keep the clients we have, to create capacity for moderate to high growth, and to develop, manage and report to your budget and forecasts.
You are not expected to boost revenue by favouring certain suppliers. Our advice is entirely independent, meaning better outcomes for our clients, a high level of trust within the farming community, and self-respect for our people.
You have great clay to work with. Over decades, our ag team has been instrumental in turning the Mallee from a dust bowl into a productive winter cropping region the envy of rural Australia. The team is hard working, enthusiastic and cheerful. On one hand, our people are open-minded innovators always looking for better ways… however on the other, they tend to be set in their country ways, presenting you with the challenge of introducing change in a manner that makes clear sense to independent, self-confident minds.
We’re justifiably proud of our ag crew. They’re demonstrably effective, and are respected and supported by all in the business. But we can do more, for many more farmers, and that’s where you come in. The division has reached an inflexion point where goals and systems need review and streamlining from a business perspective. We need a plan that will enable us to progressively roll out our offering in new territory, without ever compromising our standards.
It’s a vital, senior role, working side-by-side with the Head of Ag but as it’s essentially a business function, reporting directly to the General Manager of Operations and the Managing Partner. You will also work collaboratively with the senior team and Advisory Board and have access to financial and other support services as necessary.
Once upon a time, a farm was largely about land, crops, stock, and seasons good and bad. Then along came science and tech and those farmers who have embraced the future have, in the main, improved their yield and quality of their land dramatically. But these days a farm is also a business – sometimes a pretty big business – and in the main, farmers are not born business people. It’s why so many come to grief. They know they need help with planning, accounting, tax, risk management, insurance, sourcing finance, off-farm investment, succession planning and all the rest and they give it all a stab, but it tends to be done piecemeal. It’s an unwieldy mess. They get conflicting (and often ill-fated) advice. Nothing marries.
We fix that. We put together teams of financial specialists who work with ag – client by individual client – to get all their farming, business and personal affairs in order and working synergistically. It’s all handled under the one roof so one hand knows what the other is doing, and the end result is a far greater degree of certainty.
We do get resistance. It’s another something ‘new’. But it surely does work and word is spreading. Take a look at the ‘Futures’ program on our website. You will get the gist.
In many ways, a ‘Futures’ kind of program is what we’re asking of you. To look at the whole, integrate the pieces, find the synergies, iron out the kinks and create systems and a plan that ensure relentless progress. The job is to take as much uncertainty out of the process as is reasonably possible, measure the outcomes and refine as necessary.
One of your challenges is management and coordination of a team that is in the field a fair proportion of the time, particularly as individual members rely on their fellows for specific, specialist advice – although there is an active internal bush telegraph in operation. We’re currently present in the Mallee (Victoria, SA, and into NSW) and the Central Murray and Riverina. Our eyes, immediately, are on coverage throughout substantially more of southeast Victoria and southern NSW, but expansion is as open-ended as the structure you put in place to support it. In time, it could be all regional Australia.
It’s part of the magic of this role. Within the bounds of operating within our own administrative and reporting systems, being in tune with and adhering to our Vision Mission Purpose and Values (below) and earning the support of the ag team, you have an open canvas. You have a remarkably effective – we believe unique – product to work with that already has momentum.
You have the prospect of becoming a VIP in Australian agriculture with all the benefits that accrue.
We presume there will be some travel involved but the centre of your network will be Swan Hill. Our suite in Collins Street is, of course, at your disposal.
Mostly, you have the opportunity to make a huge difference to countless families and lives. To bring confidence and certainty to the bush where traditionally, they’re in very short supply. And the only thing you have to ‘sell’ is a vision. The grander the better. The main thing you have to ‘do’ is lead – not in competition with anyone in ag or at the executive level, but as the facilitator of a plan that gets things happening and done. It’s not a silo. It’s a feeder into a well-oiled machine.
LET’S TALK ABOUT YOU
It’s pretty obvious. You need ability to manage and develop people, handle workflow planning & SLAs, manage equipment and assets, improve systems and processes, see promotional opportunities and work with the specifics of ag WHS. You need to be confident and mature and have empathy with those on the land.
And you need to be able to leave your ego at the door.
Call it 4-8 years operational management experience. But it’s just as much a calling in itself that we’re looking for. A wish to help grow thriving communities.
During the past year much has changed, including attitudes and priorities. It has ever been that the country migrates to the city and now it’s the reverse. The COVID experience has convinced many to escape the crush and find better, more open worlds for themselves and their families, existing and future. They have discovered what they can do without and perhaps more tellingly, what they cannot do without.
If you’re in professional services – Accountancy, Tax, Business Development or Wealth – consider Dodgshun Medlin. We have a swish Collins Street office but our engine-room is in Swan Hill, on the Murray. Here, you can accelerate your CBD-grade career with stability and purpose, while enjoying a more fulfilling lifestyle. You will also gain the respect and appreciation of genuine country clients in sophisticated industry, agriculture and retail.