Producers across the Upper North, Mid North, Barossa and Kangaroo Island regions are better equipped to manage change, adjust to business challenges, improve profitability and plan for the future thanks to the decade-long efforts of Rural Business Support’s Deb Purvis, who today steps back from her role as senior rural financial counsellor at Clare.
Deb has worked with producers in a wide range of agribusinesses and enterprises such as livestock, mixed cropping, grape growing, pigs, beekeepers and dairy, supporting them through especially tough periods including the millennium drought, grape industry oversupply and low grape prices.
“I have had clients that I have worked with for more than three years, and we’ve spent a lot of time together to get them to the place and outcome they want,” she said.
“During this time, I’ve developed some close working relationships with my clients. I’ve also sat in on some very intense bank meetings with clients and their bank managers, where the bank wanted to sell but the client has managed to refinance. It was a very critical meeting but the producers are now in a position where they are financially comfortable, which is a really positive outcome.
“I’ve also worked with clients to ensure they were able to exit the industry gracefully, and when I’ve seen them afterwards, they’ve been really grateful for the assistance, which is really rewarding.”
Deb says succession planning and increasing the professionalism of farms as businesses with significant assets and investments is an ongoing focus for many in the industry.
“In the past 10 years people’s understanding that succession needs to be planned and implemented has definitely been on the increase,” she said.
“The professionalism of farming has also increased significantly during my time in the role.
“Many producers are now looking to engage advisers from outside the business to give assistance with issues.
“There have also been government grants which have assisted them in securing these external services.”
In her time with RBS Deb has also stepped up in her role to manage a team of eight to 10 rural financial counsellors across the state.
“I’ve really enjoyed it – we have a wonderful team of rural financial counsellors who are very close.
“We work hard but we have a very good rapport.”
RBS chief executive Brett Smith thanked Deb for her many years of service to primary producers of SA, many of whom had businesses which were in a better financial state due to her advice.
“Deb is widely known and respected throughout the industry and RBS thanks her for her commitment and professionalism over the past 10 years.
“We wish her all the best for her future endeavours.”
While recruitment for a replacement for Deb is underway, rural financial counsellors Russell Trainor will cover KI, Judy Goedecke will cover the Mid North, Paula Kelly will cover the Upper North and Julianne Fiebig, the Barossa Valley.