Jarrod Koch, Barrabool, VIC, is co-director and owner of Longview Agriculture, and together with his wife Fiona, runs a beef enterprise consisting of registered Angus and Black Simmental cattle, commercial Angus and SimAngus breeders and backgrounding Angus steers for entry into domestic grassfed programs.
Since purchasing their first property in 2016, the Koch’s have run commercial Angus breeders with the registered Angus stud commencing in 2020.
When it comes to the decision of progressing their operation with the Angus breed, Mr Koch attributes his background as a former saleyard manager and his awareness of the Angus premium that is commanded by stock associated with the Angus breed as a driving force.
“In addition to the growth and fertility traits that Angus are renowned for, the eating quality is a new focus of the industry and Angus is again proving its breed merits,” said Mr Koch.
“Angus are in a very strong position as the demand for quality Australian beef continues to grow over the next decade. Across the industry, different areas of focus will become apparent and evolve over time.”
Within their operation and selecting traits in their breeding program, the Koch’s are very focused on improving the product that they are offering into the markets in which they participate.
For their breeding cow herd, they turn off weaners into the domestic market, therefore highlighting early growth as a critical trait in order to be able to deliver a larger more valuable calf.
When joining Angus heifers to sell as future breeders, the Koch’s aim for calving ease, low birthweight and early growth characteristics.
“Overall whilst we focus initially on the above traits when selecting bulls for our different enterprises, we also look at the bulls’ overall values as well as a physical inspection focusing on structure and phenotype to ensure we aren’t sacrificing in other areas,” said Mr Koch.
“The key drivers of success for us are very different depending on each of our enterprises – for our commercial breeding operation, which is our main focus, we require high conception rates, marking and then weaning as many calves as possible per breeding cow and finally having weaners that continue to grow and put on weight during the weaning process and right through to sale.”
With a transition into the industry in recent years, and with the continued development of their enterprise, Mr Koch has more recently had the opportunity to step into his role within his business on a more full-time basis.
“Having had a previous career in the Australian Defence Force, I was considering my next career and whether I would stay in the engineering pathway or seek a new career in an area better suited to my passions and skillset,” said Mr Koch.
“Having spent time in the country as a child, I was drawn to agriculture and the farming lifestyle so once I transitioned out of the ADF in 2016, we purchased our first farm and I maintained full-time employment across a number of different agricultural roles and industries to grow my exposure to different people and knowledge, whilst at home we also spent time growing our skills, herd numbers and overall business slowly to the point where I was able to step back from full-time employment in late 2020.”
“The transition to self-reliance and taking day or week opportunistic employment has allowed a better work-life balance whilst also being able to focus on the one-percenters in our business which drive success and growth.”
Looking to the future growth of Longview Agriculture, Mr Koch is driven in developing both their commercial enterprise, but also branching into the seedstock sector.
“Long-term we aspire to be a large progressive and sustainable commercial and stud breeding operation, holding annual bull and female sales. We want to be known as industry leaders with a focus on incorporating the best genetics possible to drive objective and measurable growth in commercial drivers of success – for example weight gain and carcase quality.”
The next five years for the Koch’s will be dedicated to the growth of their herds, but also their assets, with short term goals of growing stud numbers to 100 registered breeders, further expanding land under management through purchase, lease or agistment and increasing their stud’s name recognition within the registered Angus and Simmental breeders in Victoria. Furthermore, they look to expand the roles of current and potential personnel within their company.
“As any business grows, additional roles become available for new and existing employees and for us, it is ensuring we have the right people in the right position. Over the next five years, we will continue to grow and develop and for me this includes deliberately spending time and effort on strategic and operational tasks,” said Mr Koch.
“Recognising opportunities and pathways for growth, whilst not forgetting the hard work and love of cattle and farming that encouraged me to enter the industry in the first place.”
“Sustainability and efficiency will become very important as competition for land and resources increases, however this presents opportunity for those in our industry willing to embrace the change. Stud breeders will see continued reward as the commercial sector seeks competitive advantages in their businesses.”
With plans in mind to diversify and expand their business in the coming years, Mr Koch applied to the GenAngus Future Leaders Program to utilise the intensive workshop for further opportunity for development as he looks to take the next steps within his business, highlighting the opportunity to network with other young leaders in the industry with a willingness to share, be open in discussions and honest about their experiences, strengths and weaknesses.
Reflecting on his time within the four-day program, Mr Koch took a lot from the presentations from industry professionals and the networking within the group of emerging agriculture leaders.
“Whilst there was a lot of different topics covered, a common theme that ran through the whole program was that of continuous improvement and sustained incremental effort to drive business growth and success and this is my key takeaway,” said Mr Koch.
“The biggest danger of these programs is attending and becoming overwhelmed with the number of changes you want to make in the business and either making a few and then become fatigued or not even starting at all due to choice-paralysis.”
“To implement successful change in our business, I have a document outlining the key messages from each session and day and how I might apply that to our business. These changes will then be prioritised, put into an actionable plan outlining resources, timelines, and measurable outcome and finally this can become the key document driving our business over the coming month, quarter, and year,” he said.
“Overall, the program was a fantastic professional and personal development opportunity that I am grateful for having attended. Being able to listen to some of industry’s leaders on various topics has opened my eyes to what it is I know and more importantly what I do not know.”
“The growth opportunity presented by being in a group with other passionate young leaders was inspiring and encouraged everyone to seek their best version
Mr Koch highlighted that the program was beneficial to people in all walks of the industry, with the key driver the common passion to develop themselves professionally and personally through opportunity.
“As I continue to grow and develop, there are lessons and information learned during the GenAngus Future Leaders Program that I will continue to develop and hone to become the best possible leader for our industry. I look forward to sharing that journey with my colleagues on the program and the wider industry.”
“The team at Angus Australia deserves to be highly commended for the program they put together with their alliance partner, Achmea Australia, and I encourage anyone who is passionate about the beef industry to consider applying for this program.”
“You don’t need to be the biggest farmer in your area or even own your own land – one of the greatest advantages of this program was bringing together leaders who are currently working across a broad range of the industry but have a key passion – being the breeding and marketing of Angus beef products.”
Feature Image: Jarrod, Harper, Matilda, Fiona, Evie & Molly Koch
By Cheyne Twist, Senior Marketing & Communications Officer