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8 February, 2024

Third generation farmer finds key to success

When Matt McCarthy took over the family farm, Ascot Park at Budgee, from father Steve in April 2022, he probably didn’t realise how quickly the new direction he had for the farm would evolve.

Matt, Karla and baby Eleanor on the Ascot Park property.

Growing up on the family farm, Matt inherited his love for the rolling hills and the sight of dairy cattle thriving on rich green pastures from his father Steve.

According to many locals, Steve and his late wife Jenny were arguably the best dairy farmers in the district winning numerous awards for their  Jersey cows.

Steve’s father had bought the 453 acre property in 1941  and over many years the family established Ascot Park as a leading dairy farm and Jersey stud.

Matt developed a passion for farm animals at an early age but on leaving school he began a carpentry apprenticeship.

In an early sign of entrepreneurial spirit, Matt began his own business on finishing his apprenticeship at 19 years of age.

Within a few short years Matt was a licensed builder with his own successful commercial building company. 

However, it seems you can’t really ever take the love of farming away from someone growing up with a family tradition of farm management.

Taking over the farm in 2022 Matt set about putting his own ideas for a new direction for the Ascot Park  property into practice.

Under Matt’s guidance and with the support of his partner Karla and baby daughter Eleanor, the farm has undergone a transformation, focusing on breeding high-quality beef cattle, including Angus and the distinctive Speckle Park breed.

Matt had a philosophy that grass fed cattle produced a superior quality of meat and was prepared to back his judgement.

The rich black soil of the Darling Downs produces excellent pastures and Matt was confident he could produce world class beef cattle using best practice cattle raising techniques and sustainable farming methods.

From little things big things grow, and Matt and Karla began selling their meat to family and friends.

Matt’s philosophy of producing not just grass fed cattle  but “grass finished” means the cattle are free of added hormones and MRNA.                  

Matt’s perfectionist attitude to the raising of his cattle continues as the meat is slaughtered and prepared for sale. 

A fully licensed abattoir is used before the carcass is hung in a cold room for ten days then the meat is prepared by a licensed butcher to the individual customer requirements.

This process is important, Matt said, to tenderise the meat. 

All meat is delivered to customers fresh in meal sized cryovaced parcels

The increased demand for their product that followed their early days resulted in the birth of Budgee Valley Beef and it was here that Karla’s background in modern marketing techniques became an essential part of the business.

Matt and Karla believed that having a quality product  is important but it also needs to be supported by excellent customer service.

While the business has expanded to where they are now receiving orders from all over Queensland and New South Wales Matt is also determined to keep the business to a size where they can still offer personalised service. 

Matt and Karla can speak directly with customers to fine tune exactly the quantity and cut of meat required either on the phone or through their online ordering process.

Budgee Valley Beef uses the delivery services of the Toowoomba Farm Shop to get their product delivered fresh and directly to the customer.

It seems Budgee Valley Beef has found the niche market that suits their farm management practices: a quality product with excellent customer service.

Success comes from hard work, initiative, skill and an insight into what the modern customer demands.

Matt’s family has left an important legacy that he and Karla have built on with their establishment of Budgee Valley Beef that is now another chapter in the rich tradition of success from the Ascot Park property.

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