For more than 200 years, Westpac Agribusiness has shared a rich history and association with rural, remote and regional communities of Australia. It is committed to sharing the journey with the industry and ensuring it is strongly supported and positioned for continued growth now and into the future.
Nuffield Australia 2020 Scholarship winner
Bernie Byrnes from Gunning, New South Wales, received a Nuffield Scholarship from Westpac Agribusiness. He has been investigating the current opportunities and risks associated with purchasing farmland, seeking to identify trends relating to agricultural land values and lease rates.
A young owner-operator with plans to expand his farm business, Bernie currently manages a self-replacing Merino flock of 1,200 ewes, producing up to 400 crossbred lambs and 50 bales of superfine Merino wool a year, on his property in NSW’s Southern Tablelands.
Despite recent adverse seasonal conditions, Bernie believes the value of Australian agricultural land continues to grow, and sees an unprecedented opportunity to examine this appreciation in farmland to bolster the decision-making process for primary producers.
“Purchasing land is often the biggest financial decision a farmer will make. While Australian farmland values continue to rise, often outstripping operational returns, farmers need to have access to better, more reliable market data to inform their purchasing decisions,” Bernie said.
“My global study program assessed different perspectives and trends on agricultural land values at a local, regional and international level, to help farmers consider the best allocation of their capital to purchase or lease land, as well as the risks and rewards.
Bernie predominantly travelled to North America’s Midwest, which experienced some of the largest and most liquid farm sales globally, as well as Canada, which has a comparable operating environment to Australia.