Safely outside the cattle yards, little Mack watches as his mum and dad work livestock on the other side of the fence; drafting and counting them before loading the truck ready for sale.
Succession flows through channel country
At almost two years old, Mack is already grasping what living and working the land is like, just as his father Joe did at the same age.
Tenham Station, a beef and sheep enterprise amidst the channel country in South West Queensland, has long run in the Tully family name. Joe is the third generation to own and operate the property with his wife, Stacey and son, Mack, something he always planned on doing from a young age.
“We each had our own successful careers working around Toowoomba but have always retained a strong interest in the rural industry. For me, the family connection to Tenham meant coming back out here was something I have always wanted to do,” he said.
When Joe’s parents decided to retire from Tenham Station, the opportunity arose for the couple to step in and take over as successors of the property.
It was at this time that Joe and Stacey approached the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) for finance through a First Start Loan.
“The First Start Loan ticked a lot of boxes for us. It’s very specific to the rural industry and everything about the loan was very suited to what we wanted to do with the business,” Stacey said.
“Given their low interest rates and the large amount you can borrow, it was the obvious choice for us to approach them and see what they could do for us.”
Joe said having both grown up on the land, him and Stacey wanted the same lifestyle for their own children.
“I love everything about living on the land. Whether it is stock work or property maintenance, every day is different out here.
“It can certainly get a little hot and dry at times but it’s a great place to live and raise a family and we feel very fortunate to be in the position that we are,” he said.
The Tully’s say entering the agriculture industry can be daunting but there’s a strong network of assistance available to those looking to make their break in the industry.
“We’ve been really surprised at just how much support is out there if you just go looking,” Joe said.
“Our Regional Area Manager was fantastic from the beginning. He came out to see us before we’d even put an application in which was great.
“It really set us at ease and it was great to have somebody who had a genuine interest in what we were doing and who wanted to see us succeed in the rural industry,” Joe said.
First Start Loans of up to $2 million are available to help young producers enter the primary production industry. Eligible activities under the loan include purchasing land, buying into the family farm or developing existing operations to achieve viability.