GRDC is one of the world’s leading grains research organisations responsible for planning, investing in and overseeing research, development and extension to deliver improvements in production, sustainability and profitability across the Australian grains industry.
Nuffield Australia 2020 Scholarship winner
From Dowerin in Western Australia, Andrew Todd receives a Nuffield Scholarship with support from the Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC) to research ways that growing family farms can take the leap from an owner-operator structure to an owner-manager structure.
A dryland farmer, Andrew grows wheat, canola and barley across 4,150 hectares in WA’s Central Wheatbelt. A mix of privately owned, share farmed and leased country, the family business was recently passed on to Andrew and his wife by his parents.
With economies of scale becoming increasingly important for farm viability, Andrew will use his Nuffield research to look at the capital management, risk management, corporate governance and people management aspects of large, sophisticated farming businesses to identify lessons for growing family farms.
“Farms are becoming larger, and with that comes the reality that many farmers need to manage multiple enterprises, across multiple locations with multiple team members. For farm businesses at this point of growth, this can be a daunting prospect if they lack the systems and skills to effectively manage a larger enterprise,” Andrew said.
“I’m keen to get a better understanding of what small, owner-operator family businesses can learn from larger, multi-faceted enterprises, and turn what is, at times, perceived as a challenge into an opportunity.
“Resilience of farm businesses is critical, and I believe there are lessons to be learned from larger, complex farming enterprises across a range of factors, from profit and risk management to professional development and staff training.”
Travelling throughout Australia, the United States, Canada, Ukraine, Russia and Brazil, Andrew will unearth ways that better business management can minimise risk, increase profits and lead to thriving, resilient farm businesses.