Farm Business Skills Professional Development Program

What is the Farm Business Skills Professional Development Program?

The Farm Business Skills Professional Development Program is a grant oppportunity to help farm businesses with the costs of vocational and skills training.



The Farm Business Skills Professional Development Program will complement the existing range of programs in NSW and work will continue with the Commonwealth Government to ensure program development and availability is consistent with the Intergovernmental Agreement on National Drought Program Reform. (IGA)

This agreement between the Australian and state and territory governments came into effect on 1 July 2014. One of the key elements of the IGA is establishing a national approach to farm business management development that will deliver courses to develop core competencies in the farm business management skill set.



The Farm Business Skills Professional Development Program will provide:

  • the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills to build improved resilience and adaptability in the agricultural business.
  • exposure to new ideas, tools and techniques that businesses can use.
  • a range of products and services that engage the wide diversity of skills, knowledge and experience within the agricultural business sector.
  • a focus on building the skills and knowledge of agricultural businesses to manage risk, financial and business planning or decision making capacity.


Priority Areas

The priority areas for the Farm Business Skills Professional Development Program are outlined below:

  • Management of risk
    • The management of risk is a key area of focus to support future decision-making and investment decisions that underpin profitable and sustainable agricultural businesses.
    • Areas of risk management that are considered important for the program include the undertaking of a business risk analysis; understanding exposure to climate and natural disaster risk; debt and financial risks; succession planning and business continuity; understanding and development of strategies to mitigate and manage risk
  • Financial and business management
    • Improving financial and business management capacity is a key focus area that is critical to securing future agricultural business viability.
    • Areas of financial and business management that are considered a priority for the program are financial literacy; capacity to analyse the business; benchmarking; enterprise analysis; infrastructure and capital investment on farm; different business structure options; improved personal skills around communication and managing people; and a capacity to implement and monitor a business plan into the future.
  • Farm business planning and/or drought preparedness planning
    • Developing a farm management plan and/or drought preparedness plan assists in the planning, preparation and prioritisation for the future growth of the business. A well-formulated plan helps to provide protection for the farm business from possible risk in a hostile and variable business environment.
    • The plan should include an analysis of the farming enterprise and preparation for internal and external risks that impact on the business. The plan will help farm business managers to develop strategies, measures and outcomes for achieving business growth by looking at the marketing, financial, human resources, and succession planning pillars of the farming business.



Participants can receive:

  • up to a maximum of $5,000 for the first person from the farm business across eligible programs.
  • additional members of the farm business management team can also apply for support for up to an additional $1000 per person for a maximum of four (4) more people to a maximum of $9000 for the farm business over the five years of the program.
  • It is possible to undertake a number of professional development activities. However, the maximum allocation for the first person from the farm business across eligible programs over the five-year life of the program is set at $5,000. Up to four (4) additional members of the business can also participate with a maximum of $9000 available for the farm business.


Eligible Projects

The Farm Business Skills Professional Development Program may be used for:

  • professional development, vocational training and farm business planning
  • travel costs (fuel, accommodation, meals)
  • child/respite care costs (from a registered provider)
  • software that is specifically related to the professional development activity


Eligible Applicants

To be eligible for the Farm Business Skills Professional Development Program, you must:

  • be involved in the management of a primary production enterprise, includin
    • the principal operator and spouse
    • partners
    • family members
    • managers who are not family members
  • earn 51% of your income from a primary production undertaking
  • be able to contribute 50% of the total cost of the professional development activity



Applications close 30 June 2020.


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