The three and their partners regularly come together with Chris Morrison who has taught at what was Orange Agricultural College and formerly with major pastoral companies. “The thing I really concentrate on is talking to individuals about their attitude and mindset toward business.” Mr Morrison said. “It really is about them being very positive and what is in store for them in the future, and planning for that.”

Learning from others

On this day they all gathered at the dairy farm of Adam Cook and his partner Sophie, where they predominantly milk Jerseys, near Taree. It is the afternoon, and they are watching on as the cows make their way to the dairy to be milked. Between explaining the issues that confront the farm, Mr Cook admitted there was some scepticism toward the scheme from other farmers in the district.

“When we were accepted into this program we got a bit of criticism,” he said. “My response was ‘Did you get coached when you played sport?’ That person’s response was ‘Yeah, that’s what you do’. “I turned around and stated it is no different to running a business and having a coach to back us and help us. “It’s the best thing that has happened to our business.”

For Danny Green, unlike many commercial fishermen who often have generations behind them, he is the first in his family to make a dollar by wetting a line. “When I bought the business I wasn’t thinking about the change. It was more the lifestyle. It was something I had always wanted to do,” Mr Green said. “When I am out on the ocean fishing, and they are dairy farming, you are still following the same principles. “In business you have the same set of structures — managing your finances, looking for opportunities and cutting costs. “Before, I was catching my fish, selling it and then going to bed. Now we are thinking toward the future and expanding.

“My fiance Melissah [Barrett] is much more involved in the business and is talking to people in America and learning from their business structures.” While there may be similar structures, Mr Green is somewhat in awe of the third participant, Jarrod Amery, who farms 2,600 hectares south-east of Forbes. “It blows my mind about the operation they are running. We take encouragement from that,” Mr Green said. “We say ‘righto, let’s step it up a gear and run something bigger than what we are currently doing’.”

Despite being in the grip of one of the worst droughts on record, Mr Amery can only see positives from the course. “It’s gold! It’s coincided with the worst year that my wife Emma and I have had in our agricultural career,” he said. “The coaching part of the young farmers’ program has helped us navigate through things such as cash flow, budgets, to negotiating with banks. It has been so helpful.”

While some may have seen it as a bit of a joke when the program was first mooted, for these three young primary producers it has put a smile on their face.