GFS students’ visit to Brendan Smart Farm: Insights into a South Australian modern family farm

Photograph by Theo Simos

Six Master of Global Food and Agricultural Business (MGFAB) visited Brendon Smart’s farm properties on 12th February 2015. Brendon is a ‘multi-enterprise’ farmer from Keith, in South Australia’s upper South East and about 225 kilometres from Adelaide. The Smart Group runs several thousand livestock among extensive cereal cropping and irrigation operations.

The farm visit was arranged through Global Food Studies (GFS)’ new Agribusiness Advisory Board. Brendon Smart is a member of the board. Brendon and his sons, Ryan and Damien, extended an invitation to the other board members and senior GFS academics to visit their farm and learn more about their business. Participating board members included Jerry Adams, Ed Peters, Darren Arney, Peter Michell. Jacinta Rose, who is a journalist from the stock journal, also joined the trip.

The visit provided a good opportunity for our students. An invitation was sent out to all GFS students and if they wanted to attend they needed to write a paragraph explaining why they thought the experience would be beneficial to them. Six students, namely Seth Offei, Alberta Badu-Yeboah, Imon Sankar Saikia, Simon Ndung’u, Lucia Antonio and Yifan, did an excellent job in researching the company and describing why they wanted to be involved in the tour. Jerry Adams organised the trip with support from Craig Johns (Global Food Studies) to organise the students.

Our student Yifan, originally from China, shared with us that the trip provided an opportunity to better understand the high quality of management of a leading South Australian modern family farm. Yifan commented that “I will try to use this experience in China” indicating potential ‘global’ impacts of the visit.

Photograph by Theo Simos

When being asked about the most valuable aspect that he has learnt from the trip, Seth Offei, originally from Ghana, answered “the manner in which Brendon and his sons organized such huge estates with professional touch was so inspirational”. He viewed that the trip enabled him to reflect on some of the numerous concepts and theories that he had been exposed to in the classroom.  Seth added “It gave me the opportunity to have a feel of agribusiness in Australia away from the classroom and to compare what is in my country with Australia and to brainstorm the way forward for the future of Ghana.

Sharing knowledge (Photograph by Theo Simos)

Seth quoted a beautiful quote by Xunzi (340-245 BC) to sum up his experience “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand” which points out the importance of getting some hands on experience.

Congratulations to our students on completing the farm visit and we thank you Brendon, Ryan and Damien for sharing your knowledge with our students!


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