Cochrane Family Group Farmers

Posted on May 18, 2016
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7th Generation Family Farm Sees 60-Fold Increase with Strategy and Support from Scott Brodie and BLG Business Advisers

“I trust Scott. He’s an important part of our team. If I could give a recommendation out of 100, I’d give 100. There are no negatives, it’s all positive.” – Geoff Cochrane, Cochrane Family Group

  • Family farm increased production from 165,000 litres of milk to 10 Million litres in Geoff’s lifetime—a 60-fold increase
  • Support and advice for exponential land acquisition from Scott Brodie of BLG Business Advisers
  • Succession planning provided smooth hand-off to the next generation
  • Tax strategies provide protection and minimise liability

Geoff and Cathie Cochrane are 7th generation dairy farmers. When Geoff left school at age 15 to work on the farm full-time, they produced 165,000 litres of milk each year. Last year, they produced 10 Million litres of milk—a 60-fold increase.

Geoff is quick to point out that such staggering success doesn’t happen in a bubble. “You have to have a team, a good group of support people,” Geoff says. “And on our team, Scott Brodie is number one.”

“A Good Accountant Makes All the Difference”

In 1997, Geoff’s family had been with the same accounting firm for four or five decades. During that time, Scott Brodie became the person at the firm who interfaced with Geoff and Cathie. When the firm closed down their local office and Scott decided to form his own company, the Cochrane’s made the switch. “We’ve been with BLG since before BLG even existed,” Geoff says.

According to Geoff, it was Scott’s combination of positivity, knowledge, and accounting skill that impressed them. “Scott is always very positive and enthusiastic,” Geoff says. “He grew up with relations on a farm and knows what we’re talking about. He does a fantastic job managing the accounting. A good accountant makes all the difference between a family farm that prospers and a farm that doesn’t prosper.”

Strategic Land Acquisition Leads to Exponential Growth

Over the next several years, Geoff and Cathie decided to focus on land acquisition as the key to growing their business and maximising their farm’s profitability. Geoff sums up his philosophy simply: “Buying land is the best investment we can make.”

With BLG’s advice and assistance, Geoff and Cathie had their property regularly revalued and used the land as security to acquire additional parcels of land. This process created continual expansion—resulting in their 60-fold increase in milk production.

When Geoff and Cathie approached retirement age and wanted to pass the farm onto their three sons, Scott helped them transfer their land with minimal tax liability.

Cathie acknowledges: “When we put an idea to him, he works out how it will come to fruition, by his knowledge of the law and legislation. He’s professional, he’s committed, he exudes integrity.”

Benefits and Results

  • Provided advice and assistance on multiple land deals
  • Helped transfer land to sons while minimising tax liability
  • Assisted with retirement planning and asset management for Geoff and Cathie

Conclusion

“Scott is a part of our team. He doesn’t talk in terms of what ‘YOU’ are doing; he talks about what ‘WE’ are doing—and he includes himself as part of the ‘we,’” Geoff says. “Whenever he visits, he always leaves me feeling enthusiastic and uplifted. I trust Scott. If I could give him a recommendation out of 100, I’d give 100. There are no negatives, only positives.”

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