Queensland Country Life

Building a beef operation from the ground up with QRIDA

From new entrants to the beef industry to owners of a profitable cattle operation, Sam and Casey Alsop have trusted just one rural lender with their biggest finance needs over the past decade.

Biloela beef graziers Sam and Casey Alsop will tell you there's a lot to purchase when it comes to getting started in the cattle industry.

First, there's the land and livestock, then fencing, equipment, machinery, and all the other bells and whistles.

Fortunately, Mr and Mrs Alsop knew a rural lender that could help them finance everything they needed to build their dream cattle enterprise.

"We got a First Start Loan from the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) to purchase Sam's parents' property about 10 years ago," Mrs Alsop said.

A few years later, when the husband-and-wife graziers were ready to expand their ultra black cattle and leucaena business, they returned to QRIDA for more financial assistance.

"We used a QRIDA Sustainability Loan to purchase our other block of land, Apex Downs, and some breeders," Mr Alsop said.

"We also used the loan money for water infrastructure and a lot of fencing projects because this was traditionally a set-stocked property, and we wanted to move into rotational grazing."

Mrs Alsop was relieved she could use a Sustainability Loan to finance the water tanks and troughs for her Central Queensland farm business as drought preparedness was front-of-mind.

"It's definitely getting warmer, and I think your property is your biggest asset as well as the cattle on it and the production you can gain from your property," she said.

The Alsop's long-standing relationship with QRIDA began after they heard about QRIDA's concessional loans online.

"We subscribed to emails from QRIDA, so we've stayed in touch with information through there," Mrs Alsop said.

"We also follow QRIDA on Facebook and have face-to-face meetings with our Regional Area Manager, John Metelli, at various workshops and field days."

The Alsops have been QRIDA clients for more than a decade, and during that time they have forged a strong relationship with their Regional Area Manager for Capricornia, John Metelli. Picture supplied
The Alsops have been QRIDA clients for more than a decade, and during that time they have forged a strong relationship with their Regional Area Manager for Capricornia, John Metelli. Picture supplied

Mrs Alsop said her Regional Area Manager had expertise about the local agricultural industry and QRIDA's financial assistance which gave her the confidence she needed to complete the loan applications.

"We think it's important to have a good relationship with your Regional Area Manager. John is just easy-going, and easy to talk to in a time of the biggest purchase of your life," she said.

"It's quite stressful, but I think he's really calm, and he knows what he's talking about."

Mr Metelli took the time to guide Mr and Mrs Alsop through QRIDA's range of financial assistance for primary producers over the phone and then in Biloela, saving the pair a trip to the city.

"A few years ago, I got a phone call from Sam and Casey, and we spoke about eligibility," Mr Metelli said.

"After that, we met at the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries office in Biloela to talk through some other programs that were available."

Mr Metelli is proud to have helped the Alsops grow from budding beef graziers to the owners of a successful multi-generational cattle operation throughout their decade-long relationship with QRIDA.

"I'm impressed. Sam and Casey are a young couple with plans to step out there and have a go. That's what we're trying to do at QRIDA - we're trying to help people like that," he said.

Mr and Mrs Alsop have big goals for the future, and when the time comes to implement more on-farm improvements, they know they can get in touch with their Regional Area Manager to find out what other QRIDA financial assistance could benefit their operation.

"We would love to purchase more land and continue to expand our herd, along with our operations, and just make ourselves full-time primary production," Mrs Alsop said.

"We're in the early stages of looking at a carbon project on the property and just seeing what's out there, and what the benefit would be to our land and our production model."

To find out more information about how a QRIDA First Start Loan or Sustainability Loan could improve your primary production business, click HERE or call 1800 623 946.

You can also chat with QRIDA in the Robert Schwarten Pavilion at Beef Australia 2024.