Students use farm finance platform to supercharge their agribusiness acumen

Tuesday 2 July 2024

The university has collaborated with finance platform Farm Focus on a programme that saw students participate in educational activities that replicated the reality of modern agricultural businesses.

Head of School of Agriculture and Environment Professor Paul Kenyon and Massey students.

Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa Massey University and Masterton-based farm finance platform Farm Focus have collaborated on a successful pilot programme which saw second-year students complete a series of farming financial budgeting and cashflow forecasting assignments, based on real-life data through Farm Focus’ software.

Farm Focus and Massey worked collaboratively to produce a comprehensive agricultural programmes curriculum, that saw students participate in a range of educational activities that replicated the daily reality of modern agricultural businesses. Over the course of Semester 1 2024, students have been accessing, implementing and testing real farming financial data to better understand on-farm finances and the importance and application of budgeting tools.

In partnership with the leading university for agriculture in the country, Farm Focus provided students access to its specialised software, enabling them to take a hands-on approach to learning and implementing financial tools for farm business management. In doing so, students were given the opportunity to develop an accurate depiction of on-farm financials whilst becoming familiar with essential planning and business management tools.

Students took part in workshops, specialised quizzes and customised data assignments alongside additional avenues of educational support, each curated to deliver a unique and results-driven learning experience

Agri Training Advisor and Partnership Lead at Farm Focus Annie Cates says it has been a rewarding experience being part of the students’ educational journey.

“These students are the next generation of our farming industry, so it’s incredible to be able to contribute to the success of their studies in a meaningful way; enabling them to learn and experiment with real-life data that we hope will one day serve them well in their future careers.

“Farm Focus is passionate about education and empowering farmers to make informed decisions with their finances. The opportunity to partner with Massey University on this pilot project was a no-brainer, and we couldn’t be more excited to share our farming financial tool to aid students in their tertiary studies,” Ms Cates says.

Massey's Professor Peter Tozer explains that the partnership has enabled students to focus more on their practical learnings thanks to the user-friendly nature of Farm Focus’ software.

“In previous years, the students completed their assignments using Microsoft Excel. However, this year, they switched to using Farm Focus' platform, finding it much easier to navigate. As a result, they have spent more time understanding and learning practical farm management tools, rather than troubleshooting Excel formulas.

“The students have adapted well to the software, enabling them to make and analyse decisions more effectively, using the data to better understand the economic consequences of their decisions. Having a platform that is much more user-friendly and farm specific enables students to learn more of the relevant management knowledge that we want them to leave Massey with."

This new approach to the second-year farm management course at Massey has been deemed a success, with the pilot now being considered for continued partnership between Farm Focus and the university.

About Farm Focus

Farm Focus, founded in 1981 by three Wairarapa farmers, is New Zealand's leading agricultural financial software provider. Serving over 10,000 customers in the sheep, beef, and dairy industries, our user-friendly, cloud-based platform simplifies financial management and empowers farmers to achieve their financial goals. Proudly based in Masterton, Farm Focus remains dedicated to supporting farmers and the rural community.

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