Mentoring – Don’t leave anything on the table

Bub Mulcahy in the cab and on tracks of an excavator and in the cab of a tractor

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Young farmer Bub Mulcahy, 26, from Kyvalley, in northern Victoria, had heard about the benefits of having a mentor, however it wasn’t until she came across Agriculture Victoria’s Young Farmer Mentoring Program that she found a way to make it possible.

The benefits of mentoring had been drilled into her during her studies at Marcus Oldham College but she had struggled to find a mentor on her own that was suitable. She wanted someone separate from her family’s well-known dairy business to get a fresh perspective.

She’s named Bub because she’s the youngest of five girls – her real name is Alexandra but no one calls her that. Bub may be the youngest in the family, but she’s making her mark with hard work and smart thinking. She works full-time managing Marcus Dunn Ag Services for Northern Victoria and Southern NSW along with running her own cropping operation.

She was matched with Leo Dulhunty, a farmer from Murtoa, in the Wimmera, with experience in livestock, cropping, farmer representation and corporate decision making. They were supported by Gavin Beever from Cumbre Consulting who facilitated the mentor-mentee relationship.

The program operated during Covid lockdowns but they overcame this big hurdle and were one of only a few mentors-mentees to meet up in person in 2021. There’s nothing like seeing a farm and how it operates to truly be able to offer support and guidance. An online meeting just isn’t the same.

Leo says it was stimulating to work with Bub, who has not just enthusiasm for agriculture, but also capacity to achieve. “She’s an excellent young lady who has a hell of a positive future ahead of her in agriculture. She had a couple of really big challenges she was dealing with and hopefully, I’ve been able to give her some guidance in those areas.”

During the mentoring program, Leo gave Bub some valuable advice that will stay with her forever about purchasing land. Leo taught her to take the emotion out of the decision, which can be difficult for any farmer, let alone a young farmer. He gave her a checklist so she could step back and assess the reasons she wanted the property, what price she could afford to pay and recognise the threshold in which property became unviable.

Bub has some advice of her own for the future cohorts of the program. “Just don’t leave anything on the table. The mentors aren’t going to judge you, they are there to help you and guide you as much as you can, it’s an opportunity that not many people get, so don’t waste that opportunity.”

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Bub Mulcahy, Leo Dulhunty and Gavin Beever for their contribution to this article.

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