FBA: The Brownlie’s journey a lesson for others

Andrew and Tali Brownlie of Andalia Pastoral are quintessential next generation producers who have developed a taste for leveraging relationships and  resources to minimise risk and maximise return.

Their success didn’t happen overnight, and their story is not dissimilar to other dynamic producers who’ve travelled a similar journey to arrive at the same destination.

In fact, the Brownlies are an example of curious but interdependent operators who have accepted advice and guidance from FBA and other organisations, implemented what they learnt, made some mistakes along the way, and have come out on top.

Part of FBA’s philosophy is to initially work in small increments, walking shoulder to shoulder with the land manager until they achieve a level of confidence that empowers them to investigate other initiatives and fund their own investments.

Andrew and Tali took part in the Resource Consulting Services Grazing for Profit course, closely followed by a KLR Marketing workshop and then a Low Stress Stock handling program. Armed with new tools, formulas, planning skills and networks, the Brownlie’s looked at opportunities differently and assessed them
with fresh eyes.

FBA’s work with the Brownlies has been a team contribution with Senior Extension Officer, Katie McCosker; Extension Leader, Andrew Lewis; Land Management Officer, Casey Spencer; Land Management Officer, Kate Jackson; Community Participation Officer, Bethlea Bell and Strategic Projects Leader, Craig Davenport.

Starting out with face to face, on ground advisory services, FBA Land Management Officers assessed the property’s potential and helped Andrew and Tali build on goals and a vision for a diversified business model with multiple income streams to offset seasonal peaks and troughs of single stream production sources.

To help the Brownlie’s reach their goal, FBA contacted four like-minded local producers creating a small peer to-peer mentoring group.  Together the group exchanged challenges, goals, timelines and wins all while gaining support and advice from FBA’s technical experts.

From here, consultants with resources and expertise on larger projects were engaged to help the peer group to work on integrated solutions for improvements as well as contributing to shared positive environmental outcomes.

Through this joint journey the Brownlies made the financial discovery that it’s more cost efficient for them to sell their breeders and focus on trading dry cattle. They also moved into selling “boxed beef” and with another member of their group partnered in “boxed sheep” enterprise selling to butchers, wholesalers and community with a reputation as delivering premium cuts at farm gate prices on grass fed label the venture is exceeding expectations.

Further diversifying their business, they have moved into bee keeping and have recently taken on a major project with FBA to supply bulk native trees tube stock to supply major revegetation projects.

Since the Brownlies have become a case study in continual learning, leveraging knowledge and networks and diversifying income, they have had requests from other land managers and producer groups to share their model.

FBA considers its work with the Brownlies to be successful because it has helped them transition from an independent producer reliant on one income source to a self-reliant and innovative enterprise. Now independently recognised as experts, the Brownlies command a fee for sharing their journey with others who have been inspired to achieve the same levels of innovation and financial freedom to deliver upon their environmental responsibilities.