Simon and Jess Mollee establish their own operation through hard work and passion

Lucy Kinbacher
By Lucy Kinbacher
January 9 2022 - 5:00am
Simon and Jess Mollee at Simmol Lane west of Roma. Photos: Lucy Kinbacher

On the outskirts of Roma a mob of 50 Dorper ewes can be found running on 120 acres of improved pastures that was once cultivation country.

A laser cut steel sign reading Simmol Lane hangs beside a set of double gates welcoming visitors.

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From the outside it might not look like much but this grazing block is breeding more than just livestock; it's a stepping stone for two of the industry's new faces.

Jess and Simon Mollee didn't grow up on thousands or even a hundred acres but it hasn't stopped them from securing their own property at just 26 and 29, respectively.

Their passion for agriculture and a hunger for their own success is helping them to live out their own dreams.

"We knew what we wanted," Jess said.

"As in we didn't want to be working for someone all our lives so we wanted to buy a block and we found an opportunity here."

Simon and Jess met while working together on a Nebo property.

Simon grew up on a small block at Maryborough and attended Emerald Ag College before getting a posting at a Clermont property and moving on to manage a Nebo operation for five years.

Jess lived on a house block outside of Toowoomba but she found a love for agriculture and after deferring university began worked near Charters Towers and later, coincidentally, on the same Nebo property as Simon.

Four and a half years ago the couple relocated to the Maranoa region and began managing Glen Arden Cattle Company for John and Angela Frith.

It was February 2019 when they checked off another bucket list item and purchased Simmol Lane.

"It was just cultivation, old cropping country, but I liked the idea of improving pastures," Simon said.

"We are just poking away, planting pastures, redoing all the fences and making sure everything we do, we do properly.

"It's all sheep country now and we're creating fences and making sure we do everything Micky Mouse so we catch someone's eye down the track."

While cattle would be their preferred choice of livestock, sheep offer a better return on investment.

The flock began at a commercial stage but quality stud genetics is their goal.

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Meet the new breed of farmers with a passion to succeed

Weaned lambs are fattened on oats crops and sold as fat killers.

"Hopefully get to more of a point of selling rams," Simon said.

"Because we have got our lambing rate at the same time we are hoping to sell through places like AuctionsPlus but we're just trying to get a good line first," Jess said.

Working dogs are their only staff at Simmol Lane and they're quickly building a reputation too.

"I've got eight dogs going plus pups all year round," Simon said.

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Meet the new breed of farmers with a passion to succeed

Together they might not have the equity or financial backing of a generational farm but they say there are a few secrets to their success.

Working for a "good family operation" permits them the time to build-up their block while also learning skills in their day-to-day job from their mentors, the Frith family.

They also don't believe in accumulating large amounts of debt.

"If you can't afford it then you don't need it," Jess said.

"Just don't let anyone tell you, you can't, because you can. If you put your mind to it, that's how we got to where we are.

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"We are a partnership, we are a team, and make sure you have a good accountant."

Meet the new breed of farmers with a passion to succeed

They're happy to go at their own pace, knowing they've already achieved a life they could only dream of.

"Save a bit of pocket money and do it properly," Simon said.

"There is no point trying to do everything in the first 12 months, it takes two or three years and you'll eventually get there."

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Lucy Kinbacher

Lucy Kinbacher

Editor - Queensland Country Life/North Queensland Register

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