Farming programme 'brilliant'

Shane Bichan says his eyes have been opened to opportunities in the agriculture industry after...
Shane Bichan says his eyes have been opened to opportunities in the agriculture industry after attending AgITO's South Island Farming to Succeed programme. Photo from AgITO.
Owaka herd manager Shane Bichan is a firm believer in the need to keep challenging yourself.

Mr Bichan (28) started training with Agriculture ITO after returning to dairy farming.

His eyes have since been opened to the opportunities in the agriculture industry after attending AgITO's South Island Farming to Succeed programme sponsored by FIL New Zealand.

"It was brilliant; it was an eye opener; I came home on such a buzz.

"I came away with a new mentor - course facilitator Grant Taylor is an amazing man.

"He talked about turning your blinkers off and seeing what else is out there.

"I would've been happy to listen to him each day even without the farms we visited," he said.

Farming to Succeed runs once yearly over five days, during which participants go through a series of workshops, farm visits and discussion groups.

Participants work with Mr Taylor and other agri-business practitioners to explore the key ingredients required for the achievement of personal and business success.

Only 25 people are accepted for each course.

Topics covered include career development, staged capital growth and asset management, goal setting and motivation, successful business partnerships, financial development, time management and managing stress.

Mr Bichan enjoyed visits made to top-performing farms as part of the course and highlighted visits to a chicken and a beef farm as stand-outs.

They also visited a robotic dairy farm and cropping farm. Another benefit was meeting the other highly motivated participants.

Mr Bichan left school when he was 15 and, while he has always wanted to be a farmer, he was not allowed to come back to the family dairy farm until he had a trade.

He did his trade as a builder, working for about 10 years before returning to the farm and starting off calf rearing.

He is now herd manager, milking 420 cows.

While not an academic person at school, as soon as he got into the workforce he "loved it".

He was glad to have a trade under his belt and those skills were very useful on the farm.

His involvement with AgITO was a way to further his skills, in order to further his career.

Courses were tailored to fit around farming.

He was now doing his national certificate in agriculture (level 4) and, after completing that, he planned to complete AgITO's national diploma in agribusiness management (level 5).

"I'm going to go on and do the diploma. I want to do the business management certificate. It's something I really need to learn about."

He was the recipient of the FIL Emerging Leader Award at Farming to Succeed, which came as a big surprise.

"Everyone there would have deserved the award," he said.

The main goal for the future for Mr Bichan and his partner was farm ownership or equity.

The dairy industry was a great industry to be involved in.

"I don't think anything's better than Fonterra and the dairy industry," he said.

He recommended Farming to Succeed to others, saying it highlighted what could be achieved in a short period of time "by just turning off your blinkers".

Mr Bichan loved living in the Catlins area, saying there was "everything" at his back door, from the sea to hunting.

 

 

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