Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


A passion for farming
Ask Rod Manning what sort of agricultural business he's involved in and he will reply that he is a 'grower of grass'. It's all part of his passionate commitment to change the way Australian farmers are viewed - and how they see themselves.

Story Sue Neales Photos Stephan Miechel

ImageCattleman, agricultural consultant and former district veterinarian Dr Rod Manning loves nothing better than watching his grass grow; passionately, of course. In a country best known for its laidback style, it's not easy to find a cutting-edge farmer like Rod who admits to being passionate. But not only is Rod proud of his passion, he is also convinced it is the way forward for Australian agriculture. He believes farmers should be passionate about their industry and its future, and flexible and enthusiastic about the changes and challenges ahead. He also believes farmers must be "passionately prepared" to turn into strategic businessmen who are continually "thinking outside the cube" if they want to remain in the top rank of Australia's producers.

"It's no good anymore just talking about the farm, the rain and that the cows are looking a bit poor in condition - that's not rigorous enough thinking to run a business in the agricultural sector in Australia today," says the 53 year-old, who last year sold his Mansfield vet practice after 28 years to devote himself fully to the cause of better and more progressive farming. "If you consider that, totally outside the individual farmer's control, terms of trade for agriculture have decreased at the rate of three percent every year over the last three decades, that means that even if every farm improved their sustainable productivity by two percent a year, they would still be going backwards. So it is quantum leaps in thinking and production that are needed now if producers want to stay in the sector. And that means a whole new way of thinking about the business."Story end

Full story Issue 31, Aug - Sep 03

Go to:

Subscribe today

Subscribe now and receive each bi-monthly issue for only $45 mailed to any address in Australia. Overseas rates at Subscription Centre. OUTBACK has been Australia's fastest-growing magazine for the past two years in a row.

R.M. Williams Summer 2004/5 Catalogue

Visit rmwilliams.com.au for R.M.Willams history, news and the on-line product catalogue