Today’s guest blog post comes from Geoff Birchnell a very impressive young man I had the opportunity to meet when I was in Queensland late last year. Geoff has a Bachelor of Commerce, is a chartered accountant and a department manager at Williams Hall Chadwick in Brisbane by day but as you will see the call of the bush and the beef industry flow through his veins and consumes his weekends
This is Geoff’s story…….
I was born & raised in a Newcastle, an industrial town 150km north of Sydney. We lived in a suburban street, with a typically small backyard, which was home to 1 dog & 2 birds. Some would say this lifestyle is as far from a farm as you can get. For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to be a farmer, after 9 years of convincing my city raised parents I realised my dream.
Our family sold our house, packed our belongings & moved to Quirindi (40 minutes south of Tamworth). Shortly after arriving in Quirindi we bought a small farm which we then had to stock with cattle.
After researching an extensively as a 9 year could I convinced Dad that we should go to the Dalmar Poll Herefords dispersal on the old historic Warrah Station. At this sale we bought our first cow and from this day on we have been ‘farmers’. I remember this day so vividly, it was a dream come true.
As I researched more I became aware of cattle shows, one in particular had a special aura and the prestige of winning the title of Grand Champion of Sydney Royal Easter Show. I set my sights on achieving this. We continued to increase our herd but I soon realised a Sydney Champion doesn’t just happen; you have to plan, search for the best stock and even then hope for some luck.
For 18 years many calves were born, the best of these were taken to Sydney Show but none of these won. Then in 2009 a very special calf was born, he was different to the rest, he grew faster and weighed more, his name was Avignon Absolute. In 2011 my dream came true when Absolute was the Sydney Grand Champion bull. Winning Sydney Grand Champion was every bit as good as I had dreamt. In my mind when you win Sydney Royal Champion you have made it, you belong. The history of past champions is full of the bulls that I had looked at over & over again growing up. I knew them all, people spoke about these bulls as ‘Champions’.
I know all stud cattle breeders aim to win Sydney Royal, many great breeders have not been fortunate enough to achieve this feat. The feeling of achieving this dream is unbelievably good. For this reason I am now trying to win a 2nd Sydney Royal Grand Champion.
In April this year once again I will take cattle to Sydney Show with the hope of exhibiting the Grand Champion of 2014. The list of breeders who have won multiple Grand Champions is fewer, I hope to join this list in April.
Geoff ( holding trophy) and 2011 Grand Champion Bull SRES Avignon Absolute.
I know that every Easter I will be trying to win the Sydney Grand Champion again. If I can achieve this I am confident the thrill will be every bit as special as it was the first time.
To see the initiatives Geoff is delivering on farm to help achieve a sustainable cattle and sheep farming in Australian by 2020 check out Geoff’s Target 100 profile here