Brigid and Owen Price operate a multi-generational, organically certified, beef production enterprise north of Injune, in the Maranoa Region of Queensland. With the future in mind and in a bid to diversify their business, supported by CommBank, the family recently acquired a standalone conventional breeding operation north of Rockhampton.
“I grew up in North Queensland and met Owen while I was working out west more than 20 years ago, so had no practical farm experience at the time,” Brigid said.
“Since then, we’ve built the business to include a total of four properties and over 5,500 head of cattle.”
With farmland currently in high demand across the country, causing land prices to surge, Brigid said finding the right property took time.
“We see ourselves as stewards of the land for future generations, which is why we place such a strong emphasis on soil health, good groundcover and building a healthy ecosystem. We’ve been working with CommBank for the past few years to secure a new property that was right for us.”
The Prices see their business expansion as an opportunity to diversify geographically and take advantage of a wider range of favourable weather conditions for their cattle – developing operations with improved efficiencies that support the overall business.
Updates to fencing, water infrastructure, timber control, legume planting and the incorporation of remote water monitoring, have collectively helped to reduce the business’ carbon footprint and labour requirements.
“We recently completed a major water infrastructure project that ensures cattle always have nearby access to drinking water. This included replacing all diesel engines with solar power to pump water, operate bores and power our monitoring equipment, and it has certainly been a great investment for us,” Brigid said
As the business has expanded, all three of the Price children have been included in the process along the way, giving them the chance to see how the business operates in case they choose to join the industry in the future.
“Like most family farming operations, the kids spend their time at home helping out on the property. Our youngest daughter is in Year 6 and is our tagging expert at branding time,” Brigid said.
“As each child has grown, their contribution and level of responsibility has increased accordingly. It is very rewarding to see their extensive skillsets at work – operating machinery, mustering in the paddock, drafting in the yards and also participating in reviewing EBV statistics at bull purchasing time.
“We derive great satisfaction in what we do, working to breed and sell high-quality cattle. As an organic business, we have to be seasonally aware and work with the environment to achieve strong production and ensure the business remains innovative and viable, now and into the future.”
CommBank General Manager of Regional and Agribusiness Kerry McGowan said there are significant opportunities at the moment for businesses looking to invest in new property.
“High levels of confidence are being felt across the sector, giving our producers the opportunity to expand and diversify their operations, while benefiting from favourable weather conditions in different parts of the country,” he said.
“Record commodity prices – particularly in beef, low interest rates, and widespread positive seasonal conditions, are all driving a positive outlook across the sector, sparking increased interest in buying farm land.”
How CommBank has supported the business
“In an age of electronic voice messages and long queues, when you ring help desks, we place a high value on being able to pick up the phone and call our relationship manager, Ben O’Brien, when we have any banking related issues” Brigid says.
“Not only does Ben always ensure we feel supported, but we have full confidence that when he says he will do something, he does. It took years to secure another property and Ben often attended auctions and met with us as needed to review our budgets along the way.”
“We have a fantastic working relationship with CommBank and our local branch staff understand our needs, and the agribusiness team 'get' what our business is trying to achieve.”