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Interviews

Kim Deans on the power of financial planning to transform your farm

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You can now get connected to the vast network of experts, consultants and coaches who are part of the Climate Farming network. We know that making the transition to profitable regenerative agriculture is hard enough, but without support from people with experience and who understand your unique context, you can waste needless time, money, and effort along the way. So don’t do it alone. Just click on the link below and we’ll help you find tailored assistance that can fasttrack your transformation and get you where you dream of going. 

Click here to be matched with an expert consultant or mentor for your regenerative farm

I’m really excited to present today’s interview. It’s probably going to sound nerdy to have had so much fun talking about farm finances and profitability, but trust me, by the end of this session you’ll completely understand. 

Let me start out by saying that I’m a complete novice to the world of finance, accounting, and really just simple math. I mean, I get by just fine. I even think that I organize my personal finances better than most people, but that’s because I’m organized, not because I have any training in financial planning or bookkeeping. 

Despite this lack of formal knowledge, I’ve long admired people who are able to compute the large amounts of numbers and financial data that come in and out of a business and use them to make sense of its operations. 

The truth is that being able to decipher balance sheets, cash flows, profit and loss statements and other windows into the fiscal health of a business unlocks the power to diagnose problems while they’re still easily manageable and to predict the trajectory and risks you’ll encounter throughout your year and beyond. 

I know there are tons of business and accounting professionals who specialize in just about every job sector and industry out there, but I’ve rarely come across people who specialize in farms and who understand the wild variables and complexities of farm businesses. 

Luckily though, after our last interview, Nicole Masters from Integrity Soils suggested that I reach out to a friend and colleague of hers in Australia who she promised could shed some light on the lingering questions I had. 

That brings me to Kim Deans. Kim has 30 years of experience and has worked closely with hundreds of farming businesses through processes of change.  Alongside her work with other farmers Kim has been implementing methods now known as “regenerative” agriculture on her property in NSW over the past 17 years.

Kim specializes in working with innovative farmers who are disillusioned with the high input, industrial farming models to tailor a unique strategy for reinventing their whole agricultural business.  She works with clients to support them as they build a solid foundation of soil health, profit and resilience into their businesses with the aim of making farming enjoyable again.   Over her career, Kim has created well tested processes designed to empower farmers to break out of information overwhelm and confidently take the next step to implementing regenerative agricultural practices that are appropriate to their scale and context. At the core of this process is financial diagnostics to illuminate issues in management at various levels of the enterprise.

In this interview Kim tells me how her early work as a financial advisor to farmers shone a light on the issues of soil degradation and made it clear exactly how important caring for the health of a farm ecosystem really is for the health of farm businesses. 

We talk about specific strategies and techniques she’s found most helpful in guiding people through the financial planning process, especially if they’re new to it. We also talk about the essential skills that someone needs to practice to begin thinking analytically about how to improve the profitability of their farm business, de-risk their enterprises, and even assess the profitability of a new farm enterprise. 

Even if finances and accounting don’t seem like the most interesting topics to you, I encourage you to dive into this one because Kim has a way of communicating complex aspects into simple processes and connecting all of it with the bigger picture of holistic farm wellbeing. 

Links:

https://www.reinventingagriculture.com.au/ 

https://www.reinventingagriculture.com.au/blog-2

https://www.instagram.com/reinventing_agriculture/

https://www.facebook.com/reinventingagriculture

https://www.linkedin.com/in/kim-deans-69067937/ https://twitter.com/KimLDeans

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