When their four daughters were little, Western Downs beef producer Karen Penfold colour coded their work shirts so husband Dan could tell, when mustering from the air, who was who.
Fast-forward to 2021 and sisters Bonnie, Molly, Jemima and Matilda, now young adults, haven't lost any enthusiasm for working in the family's cattle business, while Karen and Dan continue to take an innovative approach to every aspect of the enterprise.
Together, the sisters are the faces of Four Daughters, a premium 150-day grainfed Black Angus beef brand the family launched in 2019 to diversify and expand their business with a firm eye on succession planning.
The Penfolds initially targeted the Chinese foodservice and retail sectors, exporting Four Daughters beef directly to a wholesaler in Wuhan, China.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, disrupting supply chains and the foodservice sector globally, they once again had to use their innovative approach to quickly develop a domestic market for their branded beef.
Four Daughters beef is now sold in packs in a signature Pink Beef Box, delivered direct to customers in Queensland, featuring a selection of choice Black Angus cuts, premium mince and gourmet sausages.
The Penfolds are also exploring alternative markets in Korea, Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates as the global foodservice sector looks to recover from the impacts of the pandemic.
While the events of 2020 created immense uncertainty for Australian farmers and agribusiness owners, Karen believes resilience and teamwork will ensure the long-term success of the Four Daughters brand.
"Being a successful farmer means being a problem-solver and the younger generation are so positive and proactive when it comes to doing that," Karen said
"Our girls look at every challenge that arises with a different set of eyes and attack it with enormous energy and vigour because they know it's their future we're all working towards."
The Penfolds turn off around 9000 head a year from their four cattle properties and two feedlots near Meandarra, Talwood and Yaraka, supplying a major supermarket chain.
For the Penfolds, having a strong working relationship with their bank has been essential to helping them adapt and expand over the years and get the Four Daughters brand off the ground.
NAB agribusiness manager, Andrew Harland, and NAB business banking executive, Jason Coonan, both based at Roma, work with the Penfolds to support the expansion and diversification of their livestock and cropping operations.
"If the girls are home, they sit in on the meetings with us. They're absolutely involved in the operation of the business and how it financially functions. That's a really positive thing and it's something we as bankers encourage farming families to do," Jason said.
Andrew said among recent developments was the installation of a centre pivot so the Penfolds could utilise an existing water licence and provide them with more surety in crop production and silage for their livestock.
Exclusion fencing has also been installed on the majority of their holdings to prevent wild dog predation.
The Penfolds feature in the 2021 NAB Agribusiness Calendar and will be guest speakers at the NAB Ladies Lunch at Beef Australia 2021 on Friday, May 7, in Rockhampton.
Start the day with all the big news in agriculture! Sign up below to receive our daily Farmonline newsletter.