“Having worked in the glasshouse industry for a lifetime, and being recognised for my efforts with Farmer of the Year led me to rethink my future,” says 2013 FOTY winner Godfrey Dol.
“It gave me that extra confidence to push myself further and I began to think about and explore what small legacy I could possibly leave behind.”
With this in mind, Godfrey started his own consulting business, specialising in what he has always done – starting up large glasshouse operations. “This time I changed the starting point of my plan to satisfy my interest in travel and experiencing new cultures,” he explains.
To achieve this balance of life, work and travel, Godfrey approached investors financing new glasshouse projects around the world, with the proposal that he manage their new facilities for a year at a time.
“Farming changes every day, and I felt that to impact any farm, I needed to be there every day. The result is that over the last three years, I have lived in three different countries – the United Arab Emirates, Japan, and Kazakhstan – setting up large glasshouse projects, training staff and managers, and providing investors with returns on their investments,” Godfrey says.
“Being able to be successful in different cultures has enriched me professionally, but also personally, while at the same time leaving a legacy around the world. Without the confidence boost of being a Farmer of the Year, this might never have happened.”
Godfrey is now self-employed, well-travelled, culturally enriched, and feeling more independent and satisfied with what he does.
“Every day it is a pleasure dealing with staff, managers, and investors who want to learn about their business,” Godfrey says. “They recognise me as an expert, and I feel privileged to provide them with my experience, while at the same time becoming intimately acquainted with their culture. I developed myself into a better manager and consultant so I can continue to taste that sense of achievement.”
COVID-19 has meant that Godfrey has not been able to travel back to Australia nor visit his clients in Japan, Mexico, and Iran, but video conferencing has continued to connect him with clients and family, and his success has continued to soar.
In 2019, Godfrey was asked to be an advisor for a team participating in a prestigious challenge organised by the University of Wageningen. The contest provided six teams with a tomato glasshouse that had to be managed remotely, without ever entering the glasshouse.
The teams were scored on profitability, sustainability, and the quality of the artificial intelligence. “During the challenge, COVID-19 emerged, highlighting the need for this type of service, and my team won all three aspects of the challenge,” Godfrey says with pride.
If you enjoyed this story, you might like our feature on the 2016 FOTY winner, Nick Arena from Cook-a-Barra.