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Building a beef operation from the ground up with QRIDA

Casey and Sam AlsopFrom new entrants to the beef industry to owners of a profitable cattle operation, Sam and Casey Alsop have trusted the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) with their biggest finance needs over the past decade.

“We got a First Start Loan from QRIDA to purchase Sam’s parents’ property about ten years ago,” Casey said.

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,” Sam 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.”

Casey was relieved she could use a Sustainability Loan to finance water tanks and troughs 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.”

Casey said her Regional Area Manager for Capricornia, John Metelli, had expertise about the local agricultural industry and QRIDA’s assistance.

“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,” Casey said.

John took the time to guide Sam and Casey through QRIDA’s range of financial assistance for primary producers over the phone and then in Biloela. 

“A few years ago, I got a phone call from Sam and Casey, and we spoke about eligibility. After that, we met at the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries office in Biloela to talk through some other programs that were available,” John said.

John was 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 and have a go. That’s what we’re trying to do at QRIDA – we’re trying to help people like that,” he said.

Read or watch the Alsop's story here.

QRIDA helping graziers succeed at Beef Australia 2024

There’s renewed inspiration in Queensland’s beef industry following a bumper Beef Australia 2024. QRIDA representatives attended the triennial event in Rockhampton from 6 to 10 May, which was a great opportunity for them to learn about the latest developments in the beef industry, and chat with graziers about how our financial assistance could help them improve their operations.

John Metelli, Brad Whittington and Sam FryerA highlight of the event was the Climate Resilience for Beef Businesses seminar, where QRIDA Disasters and Drought Manager, Sheree Finney, spoke about how QRIDA’s drought financial assistance could help producers prepare for and mitigate the impacts of drought. 

During a panel discussion, QRIDA clients and Central Queensland graziers, Kristie Lisle and Megan Dunne, also explained how they used QRIDA financial assistance to undertake major infrastructure upgrades to make water go further on each of their properties.

With Queensland recently declared drought-free for the first time in 11 years, now is the perfect time for primary producers to take advantage of QRIDA’s financial assistance to improve the drought resilience of their operations.

At Beef Australia 2024, our Regional Area Managers also spoke with graziers about how our First Start and Sustainability Loans could help them boost their beef businesses. 

Up-and-coming graziers enquired about the various ways our concessional First Start Loans of up to $2 million could help them establish a viable operation. We understand that in the current market it may not be possible for new entrants to the beef industry to purchase their first rural property right away. That’s why our First Start Loans also enable graziers to enter leasing or sharefarming arrangements while they build their herd.

Our Sustainability Loans were also of interest among producers, regarding how the concessional finance could help them secure the future of their operation, including to build on-farm accommodation and upgrade equipment and machinery. 

Whether you’re looking for concessional finance to help you purchase ag-tech, or you’re keen to implement the sustainable land management practices you heard about at Beef Australia 2024, get in touch with your local Regional Area Manager on 1800 623 946 to find out how our assistance could boost your operation.

Cameron MacMillan
QRIDA Chief Executive Officer

FBAA helps 100 producers overcome financial difficulty

Dan standing at fence with bakerThe Farm Business Analysis Assistance (FBAA) program has emerged as a beacon of hope for rural producers facing the daunting challenge of resolving farm debt.

The program, which provides a free, no obligation service designed to assist primary producers experiencing financial difficulty, recently hit a significant milestone, approving more than 100 applications to help producers identify and resolve their farm debt, allowing them to continue their family legacy.

Farm Debt Restructure Office Manager, Daniel Elder, says it’s gratifying to see producers use the FBAA program for their own benefit and the program has seen applications come from all industries including pig, horse, beef, sheep, cropping businesses and more.

“The FBAA program remains true to its heart in using independent reviews of producer’s businesses to identify underlying financial problems and provide a no-obligation report to help get conversations flowing between them and their lender,” says Dan.

“QRIDA’s professional panel of independent consultants puts producers’ minds at ease, providing a third party review of their business with their best interest at heart.”

Visit the Farm Business Analysis Assistance webpage for more information on this program.

Young couple uncorks ag career with First Start Loan

Nick and Caitline Roberts with their child walk through the vineyardsAs they sipped their way through idyllic wineries dotting the Granite Belt, London residents Caitlin and Nick Roberts were about to have a conversation with a renowned local winemaker that would change the course of their lives.

“We came across from London and we were visiting family, we happened to come out and do a wine tasting and met Mark Ravenscroft who is a well-known winemaker in the region,” Nick said.

“He told us he was selling his vineyard and we thought it was a unique opportunity to actually have a real-life change from living in Central London.”

Drawn to the allure of a change of pace and the flexibility to raise a family, Caitlin and Nick quickly fell in love with the idea of swapping their cramped London city lifestyles for a new beginning in Southern Queensland’s wine capital of Stanthorpe.

“We’ve always loved food and wine, and it was important for us to have a business where we could work from home and spend time with our daughter,” Caitlin said.

Following further conversations with winemaker Mark Ravenscroft and business advisers, the couple applied for a First Start Loan from QRIDA to help fund their purchase of Ravenscroft Vineyard.

“I found QRIDA on a Google search and we got the First Start Loan in 2021,” Nick said.

Caitlin said QRIDA Regional Area Officer Emily Mayer made her feel at ease during the application process with her familiarity of the Roberts’ individual situation and expertise about QRIDA’s First Start Loans.

“Emily, she was on hand all the time and we would call her constantly if we were stuck on something, when we were doing our cashflow modelling, when we were doing our business plans,” Caitlin said.

“Having that one person, that continuity, was really good because we didn’t have to then explain our situation again to different people throughout the process.”

Taking over Ravenscroft Vineyard has proved a big learning curve for the first-generation producers, nevertheless, a worthwhile career.

“If you would’ve told me 10 years ago that I’d be out here in Stanthorpe owning a vineyard and a winery I just never would’ve believed you, never, and we wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help of QRIDA.”

Read and watch the Robert's story here.

Our team in regional Queensland, helping yours

QRIDA has a network of Regional Area Managers (RAMs) based throughout Queensland who can provide you with the latest local knowledge and expertise on our programs and services.

We've got Queensland covered with offices based in Brisbane, Bundaberg, Cloncurry, Emerald (with regular visits to Longreach), Innisfail, Kingaroy, Mackay, Rockhampton, Roma, Toowoomba and Townsville.

In each newsletter we feature an update from three of our RAMs. To find details of your local RAM, contact us on 1800 623 946 or visit the ‘your region’ page on our website where you can search by region or postcode.

Brian Coe, South East and Lockyer Valley

Brian CoeFrom conversations with primary producers recently, I understand the current economic and property climate continues to make it difficult for some to get started in agriculture or carry out important on-farm improvements to their existing operation.

With concessional interest rates, no loan fees or charges, and the possibility of interest-only rates for up to five years during periods of cash flow stress,
QRIDA’s First Start and Sustainability Loans are accessible to primary producers during the good and trying times.

QRIDA’s concessional loans also offer loan terms of up to 20 years and the option to fix interest rates for one, three or five years, so we can work with you to
tailor lending terms to your needs.

Give me a call to talk about how QRIDA’s favorable lending terms could help you carry out succession arrangements, upgrade equipment, purchase property and livestock and more. I can also visit you on farm to explain in more detail.

Sam Fryer, North West and Gulf

Sam FryerThe year kicked off with a promising start as rain arrived early in the season, nourishing the land. Over the past couple of months we’ve seen a few dry days which started haying off feed on hand, but thankfully, those who previously missed out received some rainfall bringing a green tinge back to the area.

While a blessing, the rain set back mustering plans and impacted meatworks orders, causing delays in transportation to Rockhampton and Townsville. The cattle market has been turbulent, starting strong but dipping below average throughout the months. As a result, many producers are holding onto their cattle longer than usual.

First Start Loans have been popular with young producers looking for a financial stepping stone to help them into the industry. Some are using the loan to purchase livestock to agist on land and build up equity, and also guide families through succession planning as they pass on their farming legacy to the next generation. 

If you want to get your foot on farm, get in touch with me.

Angelo Rigano, North Queensland

Angelo RiganoHaving started in the role of QRIDA’s Regional Area Manager for the North Queensland region in February, I’m now well and truly in the swing of things! 

Helping North Queensland’s primary producers has long been a passion of mine now for over 35 years and I’m excited that this new chapter with QRIDA allows me to continue helping farming families prosper, grow, and thrive. 

The local cane, cattle and horticulture industries have all been faring well recently with our summer season providing reasonable rainfall and not too much damage across the district. 

In light of these conditions, it’s timely for producers wanting to undertake farm improvements or drought preparedness activities to consider QRIDA’s loan and grant assistance that could help to boost their operation’s profitability and productivity. 

If this resonates with you and want to learn more about how QRIDA’s financial assistance programs could help your primary production goals give me a call.

Missed out on a previous copy of Prime Focus? Read past editions here:


Summer 2024 (PDF, 1582KB)


Spring 2023 (PDF, 1906KB) | Winter 2023 (PDF, 1,386KB) | Autumn 2023 (PDF, 1,406KB) | Summer 2023 (PDF, 654KB)


Spring 2022 (PDF, 618KB) | Winter 2022 (PDF, 708 KB) | Autumn 2022 (PDF, 577 KB) | Summer 2022 (PDF, 537 KB)


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November 2020 (PDF, 665KB) | May 2020 (PDF, 561KB)


December 2019 (PDF, 602KB) | July 2019 (PDF, 623KB) | March 2019 (PDF, 619KB)


Last updated: 22 May 2024