Taking the leap

Host: Boreelum Station
Written by Jacynta Coffey – Station Owner/Manager

Hi everyone! This week we will be taking to you to our little part of the world on Queensland’s central coast.

Today, a look at our story so far – my name is Jacynta (Jac) and my husband Adam and I are first generation cattle producers. Neither of us grew up in farming families and it has been a long and winding road to property ownership but here we are.

Adam and I.

Adam & I were both lucky enough to have horses as kids and competed through Pony Club which is where we met. Fast forward a few years (maybe 15!) and we hit the road to ‘do a lap’ of the country after completing our qualifications in Commerce & Agricultural Business Management respectively. Our road trip ‘holiday’ only lasted 2 weeks when we got our first job and from that point we began building a career in corporate agriculture. If you can’t have your own property then we figured the next best thing is to manage someone else’s!

Chopper Waltz.

This path took us across the country, from the south in Western Australia to the stunning Kimberley, down to Longreach and back up to the Northern Territory. We worked hard, had lots of fun & met and worked alongside all manner of people.

Our crew race for the chutes, Derby WA.

As we went along it became clear that although the big runs and the big numbers of cattle were still a thrill, it was difficult to maintain continuity of management and betterment of the country and cattle when the decision makers were sitting in an office in a city at the other end of the country. We began to make plans to set ourselves up to have our own cattle and build that up to someday owning our own place. Over the years we had purchased a house in Tasmania, rented it out and then added another. This was to be our ‘herd’ of the future.

Trucking territory style.

In life there are people that cross your path that you just know are somehow going to be part of your story. This is how we felt after meeting a particular couple in the NT. As our friendship and trust grew so too did our business partnership as we stepped out of the world of corporate agriculture and the monthly pay packet and into self-employment where the dollars earned are so much sweeter.

We had a very productive 3 years running our partners’ herd, agistment cattle, a hay enterprise and our own herd which had now grown to around 1000 head. One wet season the two of us had 12,000 head under management.

Our 2 sons had also arrived and so now we were a family of four.

Hay carting.

When the station sold we walked our cattle 20km, with help from our wonderful neighbours, to the station next door where we put them on agistment and began to plan our next step. First up was the question of where to live. Our cattle were our single most important asset (we’d sold the houses to buy in the first cows for our herd) so we purchased a caravan to enable us to live in Katherine and make the 240km round trip to check on them/put out supplement etc a couple of times a week.

Walking the cattle next door (20km) with help from our neighbours. 

We spent the next 12 months looking after our cattle and working on an opportunity we had been given to purchase a property interstate. Unfortunately just weeks out from our planned move (including cattle) it fell through and we were left reeling. Now, at the time if one more person had said ‘everything happens for a reason’ I could have killed them but it is true and sometimes things just aren’t meant to be.

Home sweet home for nearly 2 years.

So, what to do? Adam jumped in the car and did a 6 day, 9000km trip around Qld and looked at any properties we thought we could afford and that would allow a living for our family. The night he called me to say he had found Boreelum was a big moment. Would they accept our offer? Could we afford it? Could we leave the north and settle on a ‘small’ block with neighbours?

Thankfully for us the answer to all of those questions was “Yes”! We still have to make a living from the property and it really is early days but when I was wrestling with the questions above I read a quote (source unknown) that said “Forget about all the reasons why something won’t work, you only need one good reason why it will”.

We jumped, boots and all. Adam came home, we sold our entire herd (a very sad day and we still can’t look at the photos of the trucks leaving) and put everything on black – or in this case “Boreelum”.

New Beginning.

You can stay in touch with us on Facebook at Coffey Cattle Co or on twitter @JacCoffey, @AdamCoffeyNT