In a fifth generation farming family the pull to take on the business is usually pretty strong. For Frank Archer though it was more of a slow burn that’s turned into a roaring career with Landfall Angus, a family owned and operated business in the Tamar Valley, Northern Tasmania.
As the middle child in a family of five, Frank says he wasn’t immediately drawn into the agricultural world after finishing school. He loved the farm life but needed to try his hand at a few different things first. Eventually though, he decided agriculture was where he wanted to be - but a bit of travel had to come first.
Two years in New Zealand followed where he studied a diploma of farm management while working on a dairy farm and another Angus seedstock business on the South Island. The knowledge he acquired from the books was important but it was the on the job training that proved crucial.
“The most valuable part for me personally was the life experience,” he said.
“I was 23 and far enough away from home that I had to create a level of independence that has helped me grow and develop as an adult after that time.”
In 2007 Frank crossed the ditch and headed back home. He’s been working in the family business ever since and is now in partnership with his brother Ed. While their father Gerald has stepped back from the business management and principal role, he’s still involved in farm development.
A few years into the move back home, the family came to a turning point in their seedstock business. Whether to continue it or not was a hot topic; it was whether or not to pour their entire focus into it.
Whether through good fortune, good planning or good luck, it’s turned out to be a wise move.
“It's not only grown as a business overall but the seedstock business within the business is a much larger part of what we do and a bigger revenue stream than what it used to be,” Frank said.
“We've had a growing number of seedstock herd and subsequently bulls to market which has been fortunate because the Angus market’s been strong and we’ve been able to capture some of that.”
Maintaining their growth and increasing their bull numbers is important for Landfall. Frank says they don’t aim to be the cheapest bull supplier or the most expensive, but they strive to have the best value, over and above the price.
“The way we measure whether we are servicing our clients is if we continue to add value to our clients, we remain relevant,” he said.
“If we’re no longer adding value then we need to ask ourselves why and how can we return that value proposition.”
Having a point of difference in the marketplace genetically is also a challenge. With most Angus breeders having access to the same genetics, Landfall has had to think outside the box.
All Landfall bulls that sell at auction now have an automatic three month insurance cover, free of charge to clients. Frank says combined with the guarantee they offer on genetics, Landfall clients are now buying bulls at very low risk.
While he’s proud of the integrity and trust the Landfall brand has long been built on, Frank said its people who’ve helped shape their success.
“Growing up in a business that’s been involved in the Angus seedstock or stud industry, we’ve had the pleasure of being exposed to good people across the world and also here locally and interstate, and that’s critically important,” he said.
“I think the people side of the business is really one of the most rewarding elements.”
And while it’s a little too early to predict where the sixth generation of Landfall will take it, Frank’s hopes for his two young sons, daughter and another on the way, is that they have the grit, determination and solid work ethic that his father passed on to him.
“It would be nice to think Landfall would carry on into the future but these kids will live different lives to what we lived. Generations change and so does the expectation,” he said.
“All I can say is I know them growing up in the farming environment is probably as good an environment you can hope your kids could grow up in.
If we can equip them with the confidence and the knowledge to be able to make good decisions along the way, whatever age they might be, then I’m happy.”
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