Real wealth is not what you think

Real wealth is not what you think

While we specialise in helping farmers make more money, our team gets a bigger kick when we see clients enjoying a fulfilled life.  

We believe that real wealth lies in the quality of our relationships, the experiences we enjoy, and the act of giving and helping others.   

As farmers, it’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind of making money and growing your businesses. But at the end of the day, what really matters is the impact we have on the world around us.  

The truth is when we die… we can’t take anything with us.

  • You can’t take your money with you 
  • You cant take your farm with you (or any other investments) 
  • You can take any of the stuff that you accumulate 
  • You cant take your family with you

This is why so many people nearing death begin to have regrets. And the biggest regrets of the dying (according to a nurse who works in end-of-life care) include:  

  • Not living a life true to oneself: Many people regret not having the courage to pursue their dreams and instead live their lives according to the expectations of others.
  • Working too much: People often regret spending too much time at work and not enough time with their loved ones.
  • Not expressing emotions: People often regret not expressing their emotions more freely, whether it’s telling someone they love them or expressing their anger or frustration.
  • Not staying in touch with friends and family: People often regret not staying in touch with friends and family as much as they would have liked.
  • Not having the courage to be happy: Many people regret not having the courage to be happy, to take risks, and to pursue their passions.
  • Not travelling: Many people regret not travelling more and experiencing new cultures and ways of life.
  • Not forgiving: People often regret holding grudges and not forgiving those who have wronged them.
  • Not taking care of their health: Many people regret not taking care of their health and neglecting their physical and mental well-being.
  • Not spending more time enjoying life: People often regret not taking the time to enjoy the simple pleasures of life, such as spending time in nature or pursuing hobbies and interests.
  • Not being more present: People often regret not being fully present in the moment and not cherishing the time they had with their loved ones. 

But perhaps the most important aspect of real wealth is the act of giving and helping others. 

As farmers, you have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the world by donating your resources, volunteering your time, or simply being there for those in need. It’s through these acts of kindness that you can create a ripple effect of positivity and change that extends far beyond yourself  

We believe that real wealth is not just about what we accumulate for ourselves but what we do for others. 

Have a great day, 



Stop making ‘average’ business decisions at tax time

Stop making ‘average’ business decisions at tax time

Don’t hold your business back in the name of tax minimisation

A few months ago we sat down with Jeff McDonald, Executive Director of RLS Agribusiness, to dive into the common mistakes farming families make around tax time, how to change your perspective on what you want to achieve at the end of each financial year, and how we can help you move your farming business to the next level through programs like the Farm Financial Framework. We spoke with Jeff in Episode 98 on The Profitable Farmer Podcast,

which you can listen to here.Jeff shared many valuable insights, and we also spoke with two of our Farm Financial Framework training Alumni families who shared the changes they’ve made to their farming businesses and the great successes they continue to enjoy as a result.

Now that we’ve entered Q4 of FY23, and EOFY will soon be upon us, we thought it the perfect time to revisit Jeff’s advice around tax minimisation and business opportunity. 

Start by giving your Accountant the full picture of your farming business

Come tax time, farmers often ask the same questions of their accountants and have the same goal; how do we minimise our tax? Jeff and I argue that this may not be the best question to be asking, or the best goal to have in mind at the end of every financial year.  The nature of the questions you ask are paramount. You have to consider that your accountant will advise you based on the strength and depth of your questions, so if you ask only tactical or operational questions, you will receive good answers.

However, this does not allow your accountant to understand the full picture of your farming business and therefore may be inadvertently limiting your goals and future growth. It is essential to view your business from the top-down, rather than the bottom-up. This means the kind of questions to ask should be based around problem solving bigger picture challenges or goals you have for the next 1, 5, and even 10 years. We know this can be difficult, because it can often throw us into some confusion and the scary prospect of considering future ‘unknowns’. However, asking only small-level, bottom-up questions can significantly limit the potential of your farming business further down the track.

The conversation should be about more than JUST tax minimisation

Focusing solely on minimising tax at tax time is a “bottom-up” approach. A short term fix of minimisation, or deferment, as Jeff calls it, can escalate problems and leave you chasing your tail in coming years.

If you do choose to defer your tax, you have to consider what your longer-term plan is. Unlike any other sector, farmers are in a unique position in their ability to defer tax and use Farm Management Deposits (FMDs). From Jeff’s experience, this can lead to a potentially risky mindset within agriculture that doesn’t always lead to the smartest long term decisions.

For example, the common reluctance to take money out of FMDs or using profit to buy unnecessary machinery in order to minimise tax, may not be the best long term solution for your specific situation. Clearly, making quick decisions every year with the constant aim of minimising tax is not the smartest mindset to have during tax time.

Why the type of Accountant you choose is paramount

It is essential to consider the type of accountant you choose to engage. Accountants are experts in their particular field, and engaging a tax accountant at tax time can seem like the smartest option. Tax accountants are statisticians and will tell you how your business performed over the past year and ensure you comply with and pay only the amount of tax you are required to pay. They do this very well.

However, engaging a management accountant will ensure you have a ‘navigator’ for your business’s future. They will advise you on what is coming, warn you of potential risks, understand your business strategy and advise you on how to grow and make your business stronger. Tax accountants do an excellent job at tax, however you cannot expect them to be your navigator; you must be realistic with the expectations you place on the people you choose to work with. Therefore, engaging a management accountant with experience in agriculture, like RLS Agribusiness, will not only benefit you, your business and your future goals, but will also look good to your bank. Your bank will have evidence to prove that you aren’t just ‘winging’ it every year at tax time; instead, you are being proactive, getting ahead and considering the impact of your decisions in the future.

The bank cares about more than just equity these days – so give them what they want

Your ability to inform your bank of your farming business’s progress is essential. This is more than submitting a financial statement to your bank every year; you should be able to provide credible evidence, based on data, that explains your performance history, provide a ‘year in and year out’ snapshot based on reasonable assumptions, cash flow forecasts, your 12 month budget and your ability to service your loans.

Equity used to be seen by farmers as their driving force behind stability for a bank; this is no longer the case. Your bank needs to be able to see that you can not only repay your loans over appropriate terms, but that you, as CEO, fully understand the financial impact of your business decisions, have forecasts for the future, keep and use data and seek advice from experts where necessary. It is no longer sustainable to run our farms the way our parents and grandparents did. You, as a business owner, must be able to provide a rich and full narrative of your business’s past, present and future.

You don’t need to know how to do all of this today!

Now, if what you’ve just read is alarming you, please understand; you are not expected to have all of these skills! Australian agriculture has changed dramatically in the past five years and what previously worked well for farming families, where most would return to the land straight after school or attending an agricultural college, is no longer enough. Banks expect you, as CEO, to be financially literate.

However, you don’t have to cover every single skill to achieve this yourself. We know that asking for help can be difficult, because our pride often gets in the way of enacting change. But this is where advisors like Jeff from RLS Agribusiness, management accountants, and our Farm Financial Framework training can fill in the gaps and help you to upskill. Being brave enough to recognise in yourself that you’re not yet as financially literate as you need to be and deciding to improve yourself and therefore your business is one of the hardest steps to take- but it is so worthwhile!

How Farm Financial Framework (FFF) Alumni have used their skills to make more profit in their farming businesses

Case Study 1: Emma & Nick Strong, Dairy Farmers from Kiama, NSW

FFF Program Alumni, Emma and Nick Strong, are wonderful examples of how undertaking our training and committing to taking their farming businesses to the next level is so worthwhile. Emma and Nick own a dairy farm near Kiama on the NSW south coast and have made some absolutely groundbreaking innovations on their farm.

Before undertaking our FFF Program, Emma says she was running the business ‘blind’ as she had limited financial literacy and had no idea how their financial decisions were helping or hindering their business. They had budgets but didn’t always refer back to them, especially in tough times, and just kept plodding along doing things the same way they’d always been done.

Since doing our FFF training, however, Emma says every decision they make comes back to their budget and future forecasts to ensure every financial decision aligns with their business goals. They get paid every month, go back over their budgets every month and compare their forecasts with their actuals every month to ensure the budget is modified if necessary and to make sure their goals can be met, regardless of seasonal or unforeseen challenges.

Our FFF training really demonstrated to Emma and Nick how much a small change in income impacts their bottom line, and how important it is to be across all key ratios in real time. They have been able to make and monitor their targets for big expenses regularly and have a much better, well-rounded understanding of their business for themselves and their bank.

Their relationship with their accountant has also significantly changed, from being told at the end of each financial year how their business had gone, to now being the ones informing their accountant and bank of their forecast for the next 1-2 years, what growth opportunities they’re seeking, what their KPIs are and how the business is performing financially. It’s been an absolute game changer!

Case Study 2: Mel & Tom Crockett, Broad Acre Cropping, Sheep & Cattle Farmers from NSW

Our FFF training has been similarly impactful for Mel and Tom Crockett, who run their third generation broad acre cropping, sheep and cattle farm in central NSW. Mel came into their business with significant skills in records, budgeting and data collection from her previous job on a corporate farm, however she admits she was lost in how to actually use the data and apply it to her farm.

Since completing our FFF training, Mel and Tom are performing at the absolute top of their game and regularly complete:

  • A monthly cash flow review
  • Compare monthly budgets to actual figures
  • Run quarterly meetings with older generations on the farm to keep them in the loop and discuss big financial decisions
  • Complete annual benchmarking 
  • Set one, three and ten year targets
  • Spread their cash flow budget over five years so that the implication of every financial decision made on the farm is considered in the long-term 

Their relationships with their bank and accountant are thriving because they can see that their farming business is run with long-term, big picture goals in mind, and that Mel and Tom are fully accountable for every decision.

Unsurprisingly, Mel & Tom, and Emma & Nick have both won our ‘Golden Tractor’ Award as recognition of the way they’ve willingly upskilled and applied our training, not just around financial management but all aspects of their business development. Their results on the back of a few tough years of drought have been spectacular!

These amazing members of our FOA community really demonstrate how important it is to have the right advisors around us and to really consider the kinds of questions and expectations we have of them. In order to run a good business and have risks under control, it is essential that you bring in the right people to help you.

There is no shame in recognising you need help and asking for it!

What can you do NOW before EOFY Tax Time?

Our Farm Financial Framework training is a program our FOA Co-Founder, Greg Johnsson, has dedicated forty years of his life to creating and refining. It is a self-paced online program that runs over 10-12 weeks, with a further 12 months of our support offered to help you apply what you have learned to your business (so that you can make the kind of changes Emma & Nick and Mel & Tom have made over the past few years!).

It is so important for your business and your family to upskill your financial literacy, so why not do so with the support and expertise of our FOA community? You can learn more about the Farm Financial Framework program here.

If you’re not ready to commit to a longer-term Program just yet, our next TOP Producers Workshop, held on 26-27 June 2023, might be a great place to start.  This 2-Day event held on the Sunshine Coast (or attend virtually online) will teach you the fundamentals in transforming, optimising and propelling (scaling up) your business. It all starts with you, and we guarantee you that these will be two of the most productive days of your entire year!

Alternatively, if you would like to discuss your own farming operation, needs, or to simply have a chat, please get in touch with us on 0447 184 167, or email at any time.

By Jeremy “Hutch” Hutchings, Managing Director of Farm Owners Academy. You can listen to Hutch discuss creating value in business on Episode 98 of The Profitable Farmer podcast.

The Artificial Intelligence (AI) era is here

The Artificial Intelligence (AI) era is here

I’m sure you have heard a bit about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how it’s evolving (very quickly). 


I’ve been playing around with an AI platform called ChatGPT, and I can really see the power of it.


ChatGPT has the ability to understand and generate human-like text in response to a given input. It can be used for a variety of language-processing tasks, such as text classification, question-answering, and language translation.


There are a multitude of ways you can use this assistant in both your business and personal life… automate routine tasks, reduce manual effort, and improve the accuracy and speed of operations, leading to increased efficiency and productivity!


To help you get started with Ghat GPT, we have created a free gift for you, and you can download it below – it will help you learn how to use the latest AI craze, Chat GPT, as an assistant.


This is just a brief overview of things you can use it for – I’m sure there are many other uses that I explored yet.


You can download the free booklet here –

Here is another list of other useful AI websites that might come in handy for you:

Please let us know if there is anything else we are missing – I would also love to hear how you are using AI in your business.

Have a great day,


P.S. The ‘early bird’ ticket pricing for our next TOP Producers Program 2-Day Workshop is expiring soon, register before 26th May and save over $1,200!!.  Register below

The power of company values

The power of company values

Running a farm is a bloody tough job. You need to be tough, resilient, and hardworking to make it work. But have you ever thought about the power of having company values? I know it might sound silly, but hear me out.  

Having clear company values can help you and your team stay on track and make decisions that align with your vision for the farm. It’s like a moral compass that keeps everyone moving in the same direction. Here are a few reasons why creating company values is important:  

  • Provides a sense of purpose: Having company values gives you and your team a clear sense of purpose and direction. You’ll know exactly what you stand for and what you want to achieve, which can help you stay motivated and focused.  
  • Helps with decision-making: When you have clear company values, it’s easier to make decisions that align with your vision for the farm. You’ll be able to weigh up different options and choose the one that best fits with your values.  
  • Improves communication: When everyone is on the same page, communication becomes easier and more effective. You’ll be able to have open and honest conversations with your team, and everyone will know what’s expected of them.  
  • Builds a strong culture: Having clear company values can help you build a strong and positive culture on the farm. It can help you attract and retain like-minded people who share your values and want to contribute to the success of the farm.  

So, how do you go about creating company values for your farm? Here are a few tips to get you started: 

  • Involve your team: Your team is the heart and soul of your farm, so it’s important to involve them in the process. Hold a meeting or a workshop to discuss what’s important to everyone and what values they think the farm should embody.  
  • Keep it simple: Your company values should be easy to remember and understand. Keep them short and sweet (we suggest having 5), and use language that everyone can relate to. 
  • Be authentic: Your company values should reflect who you are as a farm and what’s important to you. Don’t try to copy someone else’s values – make sure they are true to your own beliefs and vision for the farm.  
  • Live your values: Creating company values is one thing, but living them is another. Make sure you and your team are living your values every day, and hold each other accountable when you don’t.  

Creating company values might seem like a daunting task, but it’s worth it in the long run. It can help you build a strong and positive culture on the farm and make sure everyone is working towards the same goals.   

Give it a go,  you might be surprised at the results. 


Could you be experiencing burnout?

Could you be experiencing burnout?

I know how much hard yakka goes into running a farm. You wake up before the crack of dawn and work your guts out until sundown, all for the love of the land and those who rely on you. But let’s not forget about the most important person in this equation – you. 

A recent report by ABC News Rural shows that farmers’ mental health is a real issue. Stress, anxiety, and depression are on the rise, which could be symptoms of burnout. But we can’t let that happen. We need to take care of ourselves first and foremost so we can keep the farm running smoothly. 

Here are some tell-tale signs that you might be experiencing burnout:  

  • You’re bloody exhausted all the time, even after a decent kip. 
  • The things that used to bring you joy now seem like a chore. 
  • You’re snappy with everyone, including your family and workers. 
  • You can’t concentrate on anything, and decisions seem impossible to make. 
  • You’re turning to unhealthy habits like too much booze or eating too much. 
  • Your body is giving you warning signs, like headaches, gut troubles, or getting sick more often than usual. 

If you’re seeing any of these signs, it’s time to take action. You need to prioritise your own mental health so you can keep your farm running smoothly. Here are some things you can do to help you cope:

  • Put yourself first: Make sure you’re taking breaks throughout the day to recharge and do things that make you happy, like having a chat with your mates or getting stuck into your favourite hobby.


  • Connect with others: Have a yarn with your friends, family, or workers about what you’re going through. You can also seek help from a professional if you need it.


  • Manage your stress: Incorporate some stress-busting techniques into your routine, like deep breathing, stretching, or exercise.


  • Set boundaries: Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ to things that are outside of your capacity. Remember, you’re only human.


  • Reach out for help: There are plenty of resources out there for farmers struggling with mental health. Look up what’s available in your area and don’t be afraid to ask for a hand.


  • Listen to this podcast episode: This is a great episode to listen to, particularly if you think that you or someone you know is experiencing burnout – 

Let’s make mental health a priority in the farming community. We’re all in this together, and we need to look out for each other. Keep on keeping on, and don’t forget to take care of yourself. 

Happy Easter, 



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