McGilvrays contribute to community through Rabo Client
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McGilvrays contribute to community through Rabo Client Council

Category Client Stories

Family
The McGilvray family, Mac, Lucy, Molly, Angus and Sally.

Our rural communities thrive thanks to the people who put their hand up to volunteer, and Queensland’s Sally McGilvray is one of those selfless, can-do women contributing to the vibrancy of the regions.

Together with husband Angus and three children Molly, Lucy, and Mac, the family runs Womblebank Cattle Co, a 24,000 hectare beef breeding property located between Mitchell and Injune in outback Queensland. 

The enterprise also includes beef growing properties at Hannaford and Moonie, and despite running a significant operation, Sally and Angus continue to prioritise giving back to the community, and industry.

It was while working on his family farm in Moree, NSW, that Angus met Sally, who herself had grown up on a property at Guyra, NSW.

After having attended boarding school in Armidale and University in Sydney, Sally remained there as an accountant at Price Waterhouse, however, the bush continued to beckon.

“I always thought I would end up back in the country – but I didn’t quite realise I’d be this far west!” she laughs, “But from my time in Sydney I saw first-hand the need to bridge the divide between urban and rural."

Thanks to her accounting background Sally has volunteered her skills and has been a valued treasurer for numerous committees in the Maranoa region over the years, including The Isolated Childrens’ Parent’s Association, Charleville School of Distance Education, the local Tooloombilla Rodeo, Injune Tourism and LifeFlight Roma Advisory Council. 

“We’re both passionate about the ag industry, and ensuring the beef sector is sustainable and profitable,” Sally says.

“We’re in this for the long haul, and value supporting the industry and community that’s been so good to us.”

“It’s the people and communities that give the bush its unique spirit, there are many people making our region a better place – it’s rewarding to be a part of.”

US Rabo Tour members, Joe Burford, Rabo AgriFinance Kyle Brungardt, Sally McGilvray and Rabobank’s Shayne Sice at the Rabobank Farm2Fork Summit.
US Rabo Tour members, Joe Burford, Rabo AgriFinance Kyle Brungardt, Sally McGilvray and Rabobank's Shayne Sice at the Rabobank Farm2Fork Summit.

Contribution through Rabo Client Council 

Sally and Angus now have further opportunity to support the region, having recently joined the Southern Queensland Rabo Client Council.

The Rabo Client Council network consists of seven volunteer, client-led councils, working hand-in-hand with the bank to develop and deliver meaningful grassroots initiatives and prioritise where funding can make the greatest impact.

Support is directed around key themes, including ag education and building industry capacity, rural health and wellness, sustainability, and helping drive rural and urban connection.

“One of the beauties of the Rabo Client Council is that it aligns so closely with our own community values. We can give feedback to the bank on behalf of clients, and we can listen and learn about issues that are important to our area and industry and recommend key initiatives that will support the community.”

Grassroots initiatives making an impact

Inspired to join the Rabo Client Council after attending a Rabobank Mini Masterclass in Dalby a few years ago, and also wanting to represent the beef industry in the south west , Angus and Sally have embraced the opportunity to help upskill their fellow locals.

“We attended a Rabo Client Council Financial Skills Workshop in Mitchell and it was fantastic – even with my accounting knowledge I learned so much in regards to the practicalities of farm-specific accounting."

“The enthusiasm from the attendees was so rewarding, and the workshops are a wonderful opportunity for our ag industry to gain valuable, practical skills, delivered locally.”

“Now the season and markets have turned it is important to have these financial skills to make informed decisions, and the networking is very beneficial also.” 

The National Association of Agricultural Teachers Conference in Toowoomba was another highlight, providing an opportunity for ag teachers from across Australia and New Zealand to visit working farms and rural innovators.  

“We had no idea many ag teachers had never been to a farm, some ag teachers have not been taught ag, for example sometimes a maths teacher is bought in to teach ag for the year, and I learned that many schools don’t offer ag, so this is a terrific opportunity to support our teachers to showcase the opportunities in ag confidently.”

The Southern Queensland Rabo Client Council has also been a driving force behind supporting a new initiative – Beefbank.

Beefbank’s Great Australian Charity Cattle Drive will commence in Longreach and finish in Roma next year, with donated cattle to be sold at auction and proceeds going to Beefbank initiatives – which provides beef packs for the underprivileged. 

This, Sally said, was another practical example of how the Rabo Client Council was helping connect rural and urban Australia whilst helping improve health outcomes across all communities. 

“It’s a genuine win/win situation –beef is donated to those in need, and it's a wonderful collaboration with Foodbank Australia that we're proud to be supporting."

The support of George the Farmer is another initiative Angus and Sally believe is making a valuable contribution, particularly in educating children on where their food and fibre comes from. 

George the Farmer is an educational children's brand that entertains and educates kids through fun and creative mediums such as picture storybooks, free curriculum-aligned educators resources, virtual reality, and performances.”

“One of the Rabo Client Council’s aims is to increase awareness of food and fibre production amongst the urban audience, so our collaboration with George the Farmer is well-aligned, and this year we awarded 50 early learning centres, kindergartens or primary schools a George the Farmer book set for their school libraries to help spread the farming message.”

“Other groups we have supported financially this year include the Advancing Beef Leaders (ABL) Program – a tailored leadership and professional development program for emerging producers and community leaders. It is now in its second year and we hope to keep supporting this mentoring program in a bigger capacity.” 

“Mary O’Brien’s “Are you bogged mate” workshops are another Rabo Client Council initiative, helping rural mental health and wellbeing, and we’re also contributing to Taminmin College school student initiatives in the Northern Territory, as well as donating money for Royal Flying Doctor Service Guiding Lights on isolated airstrips in south west Queensland.

"There are more exciting projects in the wind too, and it’s really heartening to be contributing to these meaningful, grassroots causes.”

Rabobank’s US clients enjoying the McGilvray hospitality’
Rabobank’s US clients enjoying the McGilvray hospitality

Forming global networks, and friendships

The McGilvrays were one of the families who opened their farm gate to a group of American producers on this year’s Rabo US Beef Tour.

“It was wonderful  to welcome 40 US clients onto our farm, we gathered on our veranda and spoke candidly about our operation, and living and working in a region they thought was very isolated.”

“We took them on a bit of a farm tour, and Angus was open about how our business runs and the financials behind it, and this openness was reciprocated amongst the group and facilitated further thought-provoking conversations about farm businesses, locally and globally.”

“We were excited to reunite with the group again at the Rabobank Farm2Fork Summit in Sydney a few weeks later and it was like meeting up with long-lost friends. 

In fact, Sally and Angus’s daughter Lucy, 23, is currently travelling through the US, visiting and working on a number of the tour participant’s beef ranches and operations.

Having recently finished a double degree in agriculture and business at the University of New England, Lucy was at home during the US tour, departing for Canada the following week.

“When the group heard she was heading their way they all invited her to visit, and so far she’s visited a number of their ranches and homes, helping muster in Idaho and Yellowstone, chipped in at a feedlot in Nebraska, and a beef operation in Oregon and enjoyed some very tasty US beef along the way.”

Sally laughs that as Lucy is now travelling in an RV with six other Aussies, and having recently picked up another three, she thought her ranching days may be curbed.

But their new US friends remain unperturbed. 

“She’s just had a call from one of the producers in Nebraska who told her to bring the lot – so all nine of them went to the property for a night or two and had a ball, mustering, hunting, meeting all the family and exchanging stories and laughs over a beer and a good US steak!”    

“She’s having an amazing experience, and gaining so much insight into the US industry, and she’s been welcomed with open arms.”

They’re unique life experiences Sally said the family was extremely grateful for, all thanks to the global Rabobank network.