Families drive SA's farming success

Families drive SA's farming success - Our Stories E-mag


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EVER since the first settlers arrived, agriculture has been a critically important sector for our state, feeding our growing population, contributing to the economy and providing vital employment opportunities.

EVER since the first settlers arrived, agriculture has been a critically important sector for our state, feeding our growing population, contributing to the economy and providing vital employment opportunities.

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Today we have a vibrant and diverse agricultural scene, supported by the use of cutting-edge technology and groundbreaking new ideas.

But while the techniques and equipment used might have changed greatly through the decades, the key driving force behind our agricultural success has been constant - farming families.

Just as our front cover reflects, family-run farming operations are like a detailed mosaic, where many individual components combine to make something special, something greater than the sum of their parts.

Each member of these tight-knit family units makes a unique contribution that is often invisible to those on the outside.

That's why we decided to publish Our Stories, to shine a spotlight on the teamwork, dedication and hard work that goes into making these farming families so successful.

I have found the stories of the older generations who farmed in decades gone by truly inspirational. Take, for example, people like Steve DiGiorgio - who helped open up large sections of South East farmland on his bulldozer - or Paddy Henery, who arrived in Australia on his own at age 12, eventually settling at Blinman where his ancestors now run the 25,000-hectare Alpana Station.

It's also been pleasing to see the younger generations being encouraged to put their own stamp on the operation, and if the stories told throughout this publication are any guide, the future of agriculture looks to be in safe hands. From Mutooroo Pastoral Company's Ed Morgan taking the reins of the business's stud operation, to Eyre Peninsula farmer Dion Woolford joining the board of Grain Producers SA, plenty of young producers are stepping up in ways sure to make their parents, grandparents and forebears proud.

Finally, to our featured farming families - thank you for welcoming us onto your properties and into your homes. We are honoured to be able to share your stories with our readers.

Read Our Stories here:

Communication key to a thriving family agribusiness

By MARK WARD - Ramsey Bros managing director

DRIVING back and forth from home in Cleve to Adelaide and visiting the six Ramsey Bros branches dotted across the state gives me plenty of quiet time to reflect on what makes a farm-based operation survive.

We're a family-owned and run agribusiness, born and bred on the Eyre Peninsula. Ramsey Bros was started by my grandfather and uncle nearly 70 years ago and has grown to become one of the largest agricultural machinery dealers in SA.

While the cost and nature of managing a business has changed, we still deal with people. For as long as Ramsey Bros exists, it will always be first and foremost about the relationships we've established with farmers.

We have also worked hard to build resilience within the business, by diversifying geographically and not keeping all of our eggs in one basket. That means we're better placed to stick with farmers through the ups and downs. We live and do business in small country towns.

Fostering resilience and future proofing means taking care of our greatest asset - our team. Customers walk in our door because they want to deal with our people. We don't have a business without our staff. They are very much part of the family and they treat Ramsey Bros as their own company, which is a critical part of our succession planning.

I guess every family, whether they are on the land or not, hopes their business will stay in the hands of relatives forever. Planning for the future can be pretty tough, but it just comes down to good communication, role clarity and managing expectations.

As for keeping Ramsey Bros in the family for the next 50 years, only time will tell but there is certainly plenty of optimism and opportunity ahead and fuel in the tank (pardon the pun).

We're incredibly proud of what we do, our fantastic staff, our legacy and the partnerships we've built with the farming community through the years.

Being part of a family farming business is a privilege, not a right. And it's never hard to get out of bed each day doing a job that you love.

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