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Focus Farm wraps up

THE Fish Creek Focus Farm held its final open day last Tuesday, June 26 with a big crowd eager to find out what the Cope family had learned over the past two years.
Around 90 people at the open day heard how Graeme, Jenny and Shaun Cope had worked on their initial Focus Farm goals while developing ‘pop up’ goals that also benefitted the farm business.
While making progress on all of their goals, Graeme said communication and pasture management were some of the key areas where the Focus Farm helped business performance.
“I wanted to communicate better and I like to think I am doing it better,” he said.
“Pasture management has improved a lot. There was no system to what I was doing, it was all in my head, but I would get it wrong sometimes.”
Graeme also highlighted Shaun’s development over the past two years as a big step forward.
“Giving Shaun responsibility takes the pressure off me, especially with pasture management,” he said.
“Since giving him the responsibility, he has grown as a person and we communicate better.  He’s asking me more things and I am now able to give advice, rather than orders.”
The Focus Farm project aims to improve profitability through strengthened understanding of operational costs, maximising home grown feed and managing risks to the business.
This is achieved by close monitoring of farm activities and expenditure, with input from experienced farm facilitators and a support group made up of farmers and local service providers.
The support group benefits from the robust monthly discussions, while the broader farming community can access data from the Focus Farm to see where improvements are being made.
Fish Creek dairy farmer Keith Straw said being a member of the support group was a positive experience.
“It was good to be able to mix with other farmers, learn something and relate it back to my own farm,” he said.
GippsDairy regional extension officer Karen Romano, who co-facilitated the Fish Creek Focus Farm with John Mulvany, said the Cope family had been open, honest and willing to learn during their time as Focus Farmers.
“This was already a very good farm business, but the skills developed by Graeme and Shaun in particular have made it an even better operation,” Karen said.
“The way pasture management has improved, the progression of Shaun’s role in the business and the development of the way everyone in the business communicates with each other have been real highlights.”
Karen said one of the most important achievements was a ‘pop up’ goal driven by Jenny.
“Safety became a real focus of the two years, with Jenny determined to change behaviour and protect both the people on farm and the business itself,” she said.

All done: Fish Creek Focus Farmers Jenny and Graeme Cope with co-facilitator Karen Romano from GippsDairy.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=25360

Posted by on Jul 3 2018. Filed under Rural News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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