Becoming Managing Director of Your Farm
From the USAID Cooperative Development Program in South Africa Newsletter

The career of managing director might bring to mind images of large companies and fancy offices in tall buildings. Nevertheless, every farmer and rancher are essentially the managing directors of their operation. Lieb Venter, GENEX CDP South Africa Chief of Party, stresses the importance of managing farms as businesses.  “For a sustainable future in farming, as in any business, farmers need to operate profitably in a manner that meets their personal goals.”

To reach their goals, business-owners must make impactful decisions every day – often difficult decisions. Over the last two years the Masuku family, a member of Owothate Cooperative in KZN, decided to reduce their breeding herd size by 62%, culling cows that were not producing offspring. This decision improved the cash-flow and opened the land for crop production, which has resulted in remarkable success. Furthermore, this business decision has led to a dramatic improvement in reproduction due to the selective culling of unproductive cattle. In 2020 they achieved a 100% calving rate. The Masuku family is on their way to developing a strong diversified business with an improved productive herd because they were willing to adjust their operation for improved cash flow and strategic investment. Being the managing director of your farm requires operating as a business with financial and strategic planning and making daily goal-oriented decisions. 

Vuka Landbou Cooperative members during a training on creating production and financial plans for farms. During the training in September 2020, farmers learnt the steps to create a production and financial plan for their own farming business. During the training, farmers also shared best farming practices, allowing fellow members to learn from each other on how to advance their business and drive decisions.

The information on this newsletter is the sole responsibility of GENEX and does not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the United States Government.