Rural Business Support has welcomed two additional Rural Financial Counsellors to our team to help us meet the ongoing demand for support due to drought conditions.

The Marshall Liberal Government committed an extra $140,000 for additional Rural Financial Counsellor, Hayley May, based in Berri. Based out of  Clare, Darren Longbottom’s appointment is the result of additional Federal Government funding announced recently for Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) resourcing nationally.

Darren is a well-known member of the Mid North community having lived on farm at Spalding for the majority of his lifetime and working as an accountant in Clare since the late 1980s.

In joining the RBS team Darren is looking forward to working more closely with farmers and other small rural business owners to help them better understand their businesses.

“Helping people better understand their business and assisting them to be successful and viable in the long term is crucial to both the families and the small rural communities around them” Darren says.

Darren lives on their third generation family farm with his wife Claire and their four children. The family is involved with the NEFL, BSR Football Club and other local Spalding sporting clubs.

Darren is based at the Clare RBS office at 155 Main North Road and works Tuesday through to Friday.

Raised on a family farm 70km south of Waikerie and later managing a 5500 hectare mixed cropping and livestock farm on Eyre Peninsula with her husband, Hayley has a heart for rural people and life on the land.

During 12 years of farming and working for ABB/Viterra’s Kimba Area Office, Hayley grew familiar with riding the invariable ups and downs. The especially difficult dry years from 2007 to 2009 are still vivid, when Hayley and her husband sought help with their own business via the then Drought Assistance Scheme.

Since making the “incredibly difficult” decision to move out of farming and back to the Riverland with her husband and three children, Hayley has been employed with the Department for Environment and Water, providing project support to the Katfish Reach Project on Katarapko.

Most recently Hayley worked as a Horticultural Agronomist in Loxton, building on her farming experiences and a Diploma in Natural Resource Management she had studied for.

Hayley encourages those experiencing tough times to draw strength from the region’s unrivalled sense of community spirit – and to not be afraid of asking for help.

“If you stand by what you really are passionate about, have the drive and enthusiasm to keep going and you recognise these are tough times – but that there’s still a light at the end of the tunnel – you can pull through,” she says.

“Talking to a rural financial counsellor can help you to think outside the box. There may be options you haven’t thought of that can lead you towards a change in the right direction.”

In January 2018, RBS was working with 200 families across South Australia and the Northern Territory but by December this number had more than doubled. As of May 2019 we are working with more than 520 farming families.

To make an appointment with a Rural Financial Counsellor please call 1800 836 211. 

Pictured: RBS CEO Brett Smith and new Rural Financial Counsellor Hayley May with SA Minister for Primary Industries and Regions Tim Whetstone.