Farmer Shane Cole grew up being told not just to eat his veggies, but how to grow them, too!
The son of a vegetable farmer, Shane grew up in Barooga, NSW, on the family farm. From the seasons to the crops, how to plant and what to plant, Shane was raised on generational knowledge of the trade as he became a working member of the family business. As he says, “It’s in my blood.”
Once Shane had a young family of his own, however, he decided to branch out and start his own business. Two years ago he established ‘Shane Cole’ vegetable farming and moved to nearby Tocumwal with his wife and young son.
With fresh produce always in high demand, Shane was lucky enough to be busy from the start. Almost immediately after registering his business name, Shane went to his local bank branch to apply for a loan to purchase his first tractor. After an extended process of forms, clearance, and infinite red tape, Shane was approved.
As time went on, however, the business grew and changed, and more equipment was needed. Invested in trying to find something that was both local and affordable to his small business budget, Shane jumped onto Gumtree and searched for secondhand farm equipment. In a stroke of luck, a GoGetta banner advertisement popped up on his screen, and Shane decided to take a look.
After just a simple phone call, Shane understood that his experience with GoGetta would be vastly different to that of the bank. “I didn’t have to bend over backwards to prove myself to them like I did with the bank,” said Shane. “I called up, spoke to a guy named David, he did a background check, and that was it!” Within a week, Shane was approved for a $10,550 loan to purchase his new 180cm Antipan Rotary Hoe fitted with 72” bedformer.
“GoGetta will fund equipment of any age, so that was a real bonus knowing we could get secondhand equipment if we wanted.”
In the end, because of the intensity of farming the bedmaker was required to do, Shane felt it would be easier to get a new piece of equipment, rather than worry about servicing and the number of hours the machine had clocked up already.
“I liked how I had a choice with GoGetta, and I wasn’t restricted, even as a new business.”
But small business is not without its struggles, and Shane laughs wryly at the suggestion that it’s all been smooth sailing for his farm. For in his first year, Shane’s vegetable farm was struck with not one, but two major blows.
Firstly, the new seedlings (worth $90,000 once grown) from a nursery turned out to be, in his words, “duds”. What were meant to be hybrid uniform plants all turned out to be different shapes and sizes, and none were ready for harvest on time.
In the same year what crops he did have were lashed by a severe hailstorm, resulting in massive losses on what was already going to be a slim season. Alas, as a young man born and bred on a farm, he was aware of the challenges working off the land can bring.
On the back of this sombre story, Shane goes on to point out that young people looking to start a small business should ask themselves before, “Am I sure?” But, there is always a silver lining: “There’s a real joy to seeing what you can achieve,” says Shane, “and there’s reward in the end.”
With his son now aged four, Shane loves nothing more than propping him up on the tractor and letting him join in on the daily work of a vegetable farm. Thanks to the flexibility and immediate support from GoGetta, Shane feels confident that – should Mother Nature allow! – he would love to continue growing his vegetable farm, and maybe one day pass it onto his son.
Will he return to GoGetta as he grows?