Stepping up when tragedy strikes

How Susan Koop is inspiring the next generation


SUSAN Koop, Karanda, Theodore, enjoying a rare Sunday afternoon off at home. Photo - Kelly Butterworth.

SUSAN Koop, Karanda, Theodore, enjoying a rare Sunday afternoon off at home. Photo - Kelly Butterworth.

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When Susan Koop's mum tragically passed away last year, the young farmer was forced to shoulder far more responsibility than her peers.

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SUSAN Koop, Karanda, Theodore, is not your average 23-year-old. 

Last year at just 22 Susan’s mum passed away unexpectedly; leaving Susan not only helping her dad with the management of their hay and grains farm, but taking over the bookwork, the cooking, cleaning, and running of the business. 

She’s also a hay farmer who is allergic to hay.

She said the last two years have been a “rollercoaster”. 

“Mum passed away and she used to do everything, and I'm the only one that could do what she did,” Susan said.

“So I do everything - like I'm doing the cooking, the cleaning, the bookwork, the farm work - everything. 

“I wish there was more time in a day.”

Susan Koop at home at Karanda, Theodore.

Susan Koop at home at Karanda, Theodore.

While her Dad still does everything on the farm – it is now Susan running the business side of the operation. 

It was always Susan’s long-term plan to take over the farm, but she said the circumstances and her age were “definitely not ideal”. 

“I don't have a social life - I'm here, 24/7,” she laughed. “If something goes wrong, I can't be anywhere else.”

The most challenging hurdle so far was tax time. 

“There was a lot of tears. It was horrible,” she said.

“The amount of mistakes I made - it was crazy. Mum did everything manually so I had to change everything to computers.

“I think there was more tears than anything, but it's done now and I know how to do it now.”

As if she didn’t have enough to do, Susan also runs a YouTube channel where she uploads videos explaining farming and what she does on a day-to-day basis. 

She said it was born out of boredom and a love for making videos, but has become a way for her to not only promote what she does, but what women everywhere are doing on farms. 

SUSAN Koop, Karanda, Theodore, has had to step up in the family business after the loss of her mum.

SUSAN Koop, Karanda, Theodore, has had to step up in the family business after the loss of her mum.

Being 23 at home running the business was something Susan said made her different; with most young people off-property doing trades or apprenticeships by the stage before returning home much later.

“Normally kids have left home at this age, so there's no young people doing what I’m doing,” she said.

Queensland Country Life

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