Founded in the Netherlands in 1898 as a farmer cooperative looking to support each other’s businesses through access to finance, the Rabobank Group has grown to be the world’s leading specialist in food and agribusiness banking.
Rabobank Australia is one of Australia’s largest rural lenders with branches in all major agricultural regions with an aim of creating value for clients, employees and rural communities.
Website: rabobank.com.au Twitter: @RabobankAU
Nuffield Australia 2017 Scholar
Claire Osborn Booth from Geurie (near Dubbo) in New South Wales, receives a 2017 Nuffield Scholarship supported by Rabobank. She will investigate two components of the transfer of farming businesses and their assets, mainly:
If we focus on the transfer of knowledge rather than the transfer of the certificate of title or the shares in the family company, can we generate better outcomes for both the retiring farmer and the entering farmer? and
Is the younger generations’ failure to enter or expand into farming linked to a lack of finance and business literacy, and if so, how can the Australian context overcome this?
With her husband, Claire established their mixed farming enterprise in 2012 to produce high quality commercial and seed crops on 3000 acres across two properties in Geurie and Goolma, and two leased properties in Wellington and Gulgong. They also breed Angus cattle and trade cattle dependent on market conditions to mitigate the risks associated with cropping. She is responsible for strategic planning, human resources and business expansion.
It is well documented that there is a looming issue of retiring farmers who are asset rich and often income "poor". Claire believes that there are solutions to assist our retiring generation, whilst assisting the emerging one to compete in an increasingly global and competitive business environment.
“As a solicitor (on maternity leave) working in the field of succession and estate planning, and as a farmer who purchased, stocked and equipped our farm in 2012 through savings and bank finance, I have experienced the barriers to entry into the agricultural sector for the younger generation,” she said.
“Why are there not more lease to buy options, vendor finance, perhaps from a SMSF, to provide retirement income or private equity from industry super funds?”
“I believe there are alternative entries to younger farmers entering primary production which we can learn from farming communities internationally which can be woven into the Australia context.”
Claire is keen to learn from established communities, cultures, farmers and graziers regarding their successes and return to Australia to weave these concepts, processes and ideas into the Australian context.
Claire will apply the research outcomes through a pilot program for 12 retiring farmers and 12 emerging farmers over a 12 month period in the Central West through Little River Landcare Group.
She will travel to the USA to investigate equity raising, Europe to explore traditional farming family models, and Brazil where long term land leases are an alternative to ownership.