Nuffield Australia 2017 Scholarship winner
Daniel Kahl from Wee Waa in the Namoi Valley in North-West New South Wales receives a 2017 Nuffield Scholarship supported by Cotton Australia and the Cotton Research and Development Corporation. Daniel will investigate where the next generation of farm managers will come from and how quality candidates can be attracted to a career in farming.
He is employed as Business Manager of his family owned and operated company, Merced Farming. Its operations cover 7,500ha with 3,500ha developed for irrigation, 800ha for dry land cropping and 2,200ha natural and improved pastures for livestock. In a full production scenario, the company produces 20,000 bales of cotton a year in addition to other rotation crops.
Daniel is responsible for commodity marketing, budgeting and cashflow monitoring, logistics, business administration and helping with on farm activities. Having returned to the farm in 2014 and taking up this role in the business, he is concerned that skilled labour is not making it onto the farm.
“We can readily access labour to operate machinery and carry out cropping activities. But it is the roles at middle management level such as farm supervisors, those who can manage a team of plant operators or irrigation across a whole farm, that we struggle to fill.
“The challenge of attracting skilled labour is present across the wider agricultural industry. Is the answer to develop staff and help them to acquire the necessary skills to step-up and fill that role? Or is it to provide a more attractive opportunity to those who have gone away to further education and encourage them to return?”
This is a real and imminent challenge for Merced Farming. Having recently doubled in size through the purchase of additional property, the business is currently in a consolidation phase.
“We are readying ourselves and our team for when full production is upon us. It is only with a good team in place that full production can be a reality.”
Daniel plans to travel to Europe, North America and New Zealand and study the human resources practises of corporate and family farming operations as well as what programs may be in place at an industry level to develop a skilled agricultural workforce.
Location: Wee Waa, New South Wales
Mobile: 0427 560 516
Returning Scholar presentation:
Daniel Kahl is sponsored by: