Lachlan Brown may have a carpentry apprenticeship under his belt but he jokes that if he has to fall back on it, there’s a problem. Luckily the backbreaking, blister-inducing trade can be put on pause indefinitely as the 31-year-old sets his sights on bringing bigger and better things to the family owned and operated Pakaderinga Feedlot.
Lachlan’s a third generation grain fed beef producer. Every day the alarm goes off at 5am and he heads to work on the property that he was born and bred on, near Kingaroy in Queensland. Kingaroy, around 150 kilometres north-west of Brisbane, is one of the state’s oldest towns. The country community of around 10,000 is surrounded by rural industries which include beef and pork production, dairying and milk processing, timber, small crops, grapes and olives.
The family feedlot was started by Lachlan’s grandfather who ran the business alongside Lachlan’s father for many years. He handed the reins over to Lachlan’s dad 14 years ago, with Lachlan joining fulltime in 2013. And while it may be a few years off yet, Lachlan’s two young children, aged five and eight, could just be the fourth generation to wear the family farming cap.
Working alongside his dad, and now his younger sister who has also joined the family business, gave Lachlan a valuable insight into years of feedlot operation experience. Industry colleagues also encouraged him to look beyond their own fences to immerse himself in the industry across the country and in May 2021 Lachlan graduated from the Australian Rural Leadership Program.
Lachlan said the incredible opportunity was one he could ‘talk all day on’ and will shape the family business moving forward. But first, he’s looking forward to using his newly honed skills in leadership to give back to a community that he grew up in, is raising his family in, and has supported Pakaderinga for so long. Lachlan also hinted some big career goals could be beckoning – including a possible seat on the Australian Lot Feeders Association board down the track.
“I want to put some more energy back into the industry,” he said.
“I think the grain fed beef industry has a strong future. We’re seeing more family operations going from strength to strength and I’ve seen the inclusiveness of the industry grow. People are open to sharing what they’re doing. We’re all proactively working together for one thing and that’s better outcomes for the animals because at the end of the day the animals are why we’re here and doing what we do.”
Lachlan’s a strong advocate for not only the family business but the grain fed beef industry as a whole. He loves having a chat with people outside the industry and sharing life at Pakaderinga. With plenty of family members based in the city, he’s had the unique opportunity to share firsthand with consumers how they care for both cattle and the people looking after them. He’s also keen to create opportunities for the next generation producing top quality grain fed beef.
“I want to nurture and encourage the younger staff coming through. Even if they’re only here for two, three or five years, when they leave and go to their next employer I want them to say with pride ‘I’ve just been at Pakaderinga for five years’ and they can see we’ve trained them to be the best they can be,” Lachlan says.
“I’m really focusing on giving them all the tools and skills they need to be a great advocate for the industry.”
It’s an industry that Lachlan said has hit some tough times over the years too, and memories of drought in his childhood years stay with him. These days though, he can’t imagine doing anything else. Some mornings you’ll find him heading straight from his early morning coffee to the tractor cab and other days he won’t leave the office, but every day is different.
There’s big things ahead for Pakaderinga too, with the business set to sustainably expand its property footprint in the coming years and leave a legacy the family can carry on for generations to come.
“I’m a big believer in taking every opportunity as they come up and there’s a lot of them in this industry,” Lachlan said.
“You just need to grab on to them.”