Strategic Insight
For Government, Industry & Business

We Bring A Depth Of Experience

Our Team Members have worked across the Australian (and international) agri-sector for over 30 years. We provide consulting insight and advice to government, industry, business, university and rural / regional clients, bringing a depth of experience in these disciplines:

Understanding People – and How They Think and Operate

We’ve worked with rural and regional businesspeople, farmers, graziers and most agri-sectors. As a result, we’ve gained data and insights on their change processes and trialled techniques based on:

  • Knowledge about how people change over time – leading to adoption (or not) of new ideas
  • Attitudes – how to support changed wants, needs and drivers
  • Skills – using professional development and skill development programs to support increased business skills
  • Aspirations – core of our program work is to set up a Desire to Change
  • Practices - understanding the People Side of Things; how they Implement Business Best Practice
  • Understanding of how various market segments manage change – and adoption of new ideas
  • Practical experience in engaging with market segments – across agri-sectors; geographic areas and different mindsets (including women and young people)

Aspects of this knowledge is contained in industry and government reports (available on request via our contact page).

Business Management, Business Growth and Lender Readiness

Our Work with Business Owners focuses on The Business Side of Things (we call it “internal profitability”) rather than production (of the product or service), noting:

  • The importance of our business management framework – the ABDI 12 Pillars of Business Best Practice
  • Our experience in working with clients to implement daily business best management practice
  • How to manage business growth – developing and implementing size-appropriate business plans, both strategic and operational
  • How to react to the changing lending marketplace (banks and investors) – requiring organised business plans, financial forecasts and loan applications (reflecting practical, on ground action)
Business Professional Development Programs and Project Implementation

Our project work varies from short, sharp business planning, to more strategic industry and business development plans, as well as project implementation:

  • Organising, chairing and sitting on Management Advisory Boards
  • Undertaking Feasibility Studies and strategic planning and community engagement work
  • Developing and conducting Business Professional Development Programs – to educate business owners in best-in-class business management; business growth planning and implementation; plus lender readiness plans and applications

To learn more please book a complimentary enquiry call with Amanda 

Book A Call

Project: Business Mentoring for the Australian Meat, Livestock and Broadacre Sectors

ABDI was approached to help resolve the lack of business skills in the sector, which had been defined in two 2013 meat and livestock sector industry reports.

In 2015 ABDI was commissioned to undertake a 7-year project (completed late 2021) to enhance sector business skills of small business owners, by developing and piloting a professional development program.

(This was based on an industry program undertaken for a large Australian corporate between 2010 and 2014 and a subsequent program for the Australian organic sector.)

Key industry and government decision-makers recognised this was no easy task. It required an industry culture change; strong industry and business owner engagement; understanding the mindset of sector business owners and being prepared to trial a range of activities which may or may not work.

Together with a Queensland State Reference Group (operating on behalf of the northern Australia livestock industry) a project was undertaken successfully to enhance business skills.

Robust monitoring and evaluation data was gathered and used to report to Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), including through a Cost: Benefit Analysis. The CBA revealed an 8.4:1 Return On Investment resulting in a $22.59M return for a total project investment (all parties) of $2.69M, based on a direct MLA investment (MLA’s Donor Company) of $994,794.

Consideration is now being given to further commercialisation of this program and wider Australian rollout.

Watch Video Presentation

Enter your name and email address below to get immediate access to a presentation from Gordon Stone about this project to support business skills development in the agri sector.

Project: Developing a Sheep Meat Value Chain Hub in the Paroo Shire (South-West Queensland)

In 2019, ABDI was approached to redevelop a project proposal to create a Sheep Meat Value Chain Hub in the Paroo Shire, South-West Queensland. The project included development of a pilot commercial sheep meat hub, comprising three business units.

The intent was to use the Hub as a way of supplying higher value, higher quality prime lamb to more discerning customers (prepared to pay more for higher quality).

The project recognised that Improved Animal Nutrition is key to improving meat quality. It also recognised that a More Stable, Local Workforce of Committed Workers, prepared to undertake a range of tasks for employers (on a contract basis), was equally important.

The Kunja People (Traditional Owners and Knowledge Holders in a recent Native Title Determination) and representing the local Aboriginal community, accepted the challenge of creating a small contracting business which will grow over time.

The development of the Sheep Meat Hub is being piloted through to June 2023. A significant Feasibility Study will guide the development of the project and the capacity for long-term commercialisation of the sheep meat Hub and its three business units over time.

Download Full Briefing Paper

For the full 7-page briefing paper on the Paroo Shire Sheep Meat Value Chain Hub click the button below to download.

Australian Consulting Experience

ABDI has, over time, undertaken project work – strategic and operational – for a number of Australia's 15 Research and Development Corporations (RDCs). (Note: RDCs are mostly 50:50 funded by industry levies and government). 

Key RDC clients over time include Meat & Livestock Australia, the Cotton RDC, Grains RDC, Fisheries RDC, the Live Export RDC, the Horticulture, the multi-industries RDC and Council of RDCs. Also work on “across commodity” projects and directly with peak industry bodies such as Mangoes, Avocadoes and dairy industry programs has been undertaken (as has work with varied peak farming bodies at a national and state level). 

ABDI Director, Gordon Stone undertook ground-breaking work in identifying how best the Australian agribusiness sector could support the professional development needs of Australian farmers. In particular, this focused on requirements in the grain, horticulture, meat and livestock, dairy and cotton sectors. Likewise, the work also focused on professional development of the adviser sector and elsewhere in the food value chain. It originated from market research to categorise the varied learning styles of farmers and advisers, to support adoption of new technology and to support understanding of “change”.

Project work for state governments and corporations has also been undertaken over time, as has strategic planning and business planning for universities and Co-operative Research Centres. 

Recently the company took a major role in bidding for the ONE Basin Co-operative Research Centre.

Table 1: Categorising ABDI’s Consulting Expertise

In these projects, negotiations have included engagement with federal and state Ministers for business, industry, agriculture, science and technology. Likewise, often sign off and reporting for such strategic projects is required at the CEO or Executive Manager level.

International Agri Business Experience

For four years, the ABDI Director led a dairy industry training team working primarily in Vietnam (and previously, The Philippines for three years) in developing international business-to-business relationships. His responsibility included teaching business management and business-to-business skills for Asian people seeking an understanding of how to work with western customers and consumers. This project was co-funded by the Queensland Government and Crawford Fund (federal government and philanthropy).

This necessitated engagement with foreign government officials, including Ambassadors, Trade Commissioners and Embassy Attaches (in-country and in Australia).

Since 2010, Gordon has regularly travelled to the USA and attended annual professional development conferences there. Since 2016, he has been a Board Member of the Global Alliance of Independent Agricultural Consultants. Member representation includes: Canada, UK, France, Scotland, Australia, USA, Brazil and South Africa (amongst others). 

He is now the Chairman of GAIAC for a 2-year term (calendar 2022 and 2023).