Farmer Profile

Fernando Del Castillo

Fernando Del Castillo

West NSW, North East NSW, Northern NSW, Southern SA, North West Vic, South West Vic, Adelaide
 Value stream Manager at Mars Inc
 ◦ Acting Plant Director - Mars Chocolate May 2018 – August 2018 ◦ Director – Abii Pty Limited 2017 - Current ◦ Value stream manager – Bite size Mars Chocolate 2017 - Current ◦ Production Manager – Gum and Mints Wrigley 2015 - 2017 ◦ Industrial Engineering Manager Wrigley January 2015 – October 2015 ◦ Operations Business Manager Wrigley 2013 - 2015 ◦ Packaging Team Leader (Night Shift) Wrigley 2011 - 2013 ◦ Production and Operations Manager Tafeda Pty Ltd 2006 - 2011 ◦ Part Time Draftsman/Assistant Operator Tafeda 1998 - 2006 ◦ Work Experience Amcor Cartonboard Petrie Mill 2006 ◦ Professional Lifeguard Shoalhaven City Council 2003 - 2004
 0-1 Years

Farming Preferences:

1 = no skill level, 4 = most skill level

  • Other livestock 4
  • Goats 4
  • Sheep 4
  • Chickens 4
  • Specialty Crops 4
  • Market garden 3
  • Beef 3
  • Broad Acre Cropping 3
  • Viticulture 2
  • Dairy 2
  • Orchard 2
  • Horse Breeding 1
  • Sugar Cane 1
  • Pig Farming 1
  • Cotton 1
  • Aquaculture 1
  • Mixed Farming 1
  • Rice 1
  • Other Farming Preferences: None

Farming Skills:

1 = no skill level, 4 = most skill level

  • Business Management 3
  • Human Resources 3
  • Marketing 3
  • Sales 3
  • Book Keeping 3
  • Planning 3
  • Accounting 3
  • Livestock Mustering 1
  • Agronomy 1
  • Orcharding 1
  • Fencing 1
  • Cropping 1
  • Animal Husbandry 1
  • Machinery Operation 1
  • Other Farming Skills: ◦ Company Directors Course – Australian Institute of Company Directors 2018 ◦ Supply Leadership development program at Mars – 2018 ◦ Leadership at Mars Part 2 2017 ◦ Masters of Business Administration – Macquarie Graduate School of Management 2016 ◦ Leadership at Mars Part 1 2015 ◦ Awarded the Wrigley Pacific associate of the year 2014 ◦ Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering - University of Wollongong 2008

Farming Methods:

1 = no skill level, 4 = most skill level

  • Biodynamic 4
  • Regenerative 4
  • Permaculture 4
  • Conventional 3
  • Organic 3
  • Grass fed 3
  • Urban 1
  • Other Farming Methods: None

Farm Opportunities Sought:

  • Equity
  • Lease
  • Share Farm
  • Vendor Finance

What have you been doing to get farm ready?

My strength is in manufacturing and running businesses. Recently, I have also been leading up some innovative new technology using machine learning and created a new AI algorithm, chat bot and app to be able to measure and predict machine failures. By correlating this with our customer demand data, we have been able to shift how the organisation priorities machine improvements to deliver 96% Customer Service Level to the customer. How does this get me ready for farming? Similar to manufacturing, Farming is undergoing massive changes with technology. By further understanding and leading the implementation of technology in the chocolate factory, it is helping me to be farm ready and to adapt quicker. Similarly, when running a business it is about your people, culture and the environment you create, by completing my MBA, and more recently the company directors course, I have a much better understanding of what is required to scale up a business and make it successful. My wife Leah who is a civil and mining engineer, recently did a career change and studied a Masters of agricultural economics, now working in Agri finance for the banks, Leah is building relationships with farmers, understanding their business models and helping them with the appropriate funding required. This will help us for when one day, when we have our farm, we are able to manage it correctly

Why are you passionate about farming?

Reflecting with Leah, our family purpose and what we would like to achieve in life is to " live a simple and fulfilling life, where we are able to provide for our family and make a meaningful contribution to society". We are both very passionate about ethical decisions and giving back to the world in a sustainable way. I love, manufacturing, people leadership and business and Leah loves agriculture, being innovative, creativity and reading. We are passionate about farming because it allows us to be the people we want to be and live a life on the land

Best days of being a farmer:

Our dream farm is one that is located in an area with some rolling hills but also large enough to do a variety of farming (crops, livestock, sheep, goats, chickens, specialty crops such as Australian native foods). By incorporating old techniques with modern technology, we would be trying new and exciting ways to farm to push the limits. Our best day would be when we could sit back, one afternoon and see the old and new styles working together making high quality Australian products.