Victoria Green: What my Masters classes taught me about my business

Bacchus Beef founder Victoria Green loved being able to apply what she was learning in her Master of Agricultural Sciences degree to grow her business.

In 2015, the final year of Victoria’s Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne, a dinner table discussion with her family led her to found Bacchus Beef.

She wanted to add value to the family’s cattle business in west Gippsland by selling high-quality beef directly to customers, with an emphasis on provenance and environmental health.

“It was important to us to be transparent around the health of our cattle and do our part to reduce food miles while being involved in the local economy,” Victoria says.

It also led her to consider what she could study to grow the business.

“After majoring in agricultural science in my bachelors degree, I decided to study the Master of Agricultural Sciences with a specialisation in Agribusiness as I had just started Bacchus beef,” she says.

“Doing the Masters helped to consolidate my learning as well as allow me to specialise more in what I was interested in. I loved having the smaller class sizes that allowed me to connect and have dynamic discussions with my lecturers and other students.”

Victoria says Bacchus Beef proved to be an excellent case study, and her classes gave her the opportunity to discuss real challenges she was facing and get useful feedback from the class, especially in her Business Strategy and Meat and Meat Products classes.

“The Business Strategy class helped me to form a firm understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the business and the areas I needed to focus on in order to develop, while Meat and Meat Processes helped me to understand the factors that influence the meat quality” she says.

“This led to some discussions with my butcher to understand what we were learning in class and how he was implementing it with my beef.”

Bacchus Beef founder Victoria Green with her family’s cattle on a neighbour's property in Rochford, Victoria. Photo by Chloe Smith, Newspix.
Bacchus Beef founder Victoria Green with her family’s cattle on a neighbour's property in Rochford, Victoria. Photo by Chloe Smith, Newspix.

Victoria completed an internship with the Commonwealth Bank in the first year of her Masters, and her lecturer gave her advice on how to make the most of the program.

She was thrilled to be accepted into the bank’s graduate program at the end of her Master of Agricultural Sciences, and is now working as an Agricultural Analyst in Warragul.

Victoria says she’s thoroughly enjoyed the mix of visiting customers and doing deep dives into financials and industry data.

“It is here that the value of other subjects I studied during my course have really come to light, like Managing Risk,” she says.

“Being involved in so many different businesses it been amazing to see the challenges that each one faces and how they are able to accommodate them.”

She says she loves both the challenge of the role and the support she receives from the bank for development and to be involved in the community.

“One of my goals for this year was to create a community group for people in the area that where at the start of their careers or starting their own businesses,” Victoria says.

“From this the Gippsland Young Professional network was created and I am excited to say we have our first networking event coming up in July.”

The last three months have reinforced the vital role of community support and networks in agriculture.

When the Bunyip bushfires devastated her area in March, Victoria says she and her family opened their gates and left, not knowing what they would come back to.

“We managed to evacuate most of the horses but were unable to move the cattle off before access was blocked,” she says.

“When we returned we found that 90 per cent of our farm had been burnt, but amazingly the animals and the house had survived.

“We lost sheds and almost all of our fencing and feed, but we were so lucky that we were all safe.”

She says her Commonwealth Bank colleagues and the community were exceptionally supportive when the Bunyip fires hit. Victoria’s team has visited fortnightly to help clean up, her manager has provided feed and taken care of three of the family’s horses, and local famers have offered their paddocks for her family’s stock.

While she says there is still a lot to do before she and her family can return to growing her business, she’s optimistic about the future.

“Our family is very lucky to have an amazing support network of family and friends that have all jumped in to help us to rebuild our lives.

“Once the farm is back up and running we will focus on getting Bacchus Beef running again.”

Story by Stuart Winthrope. Banner image: Victoria Green at her neighbour’s property, where her family’s cattle is on agistment while their property recovers. Photo: Chloe Smith, Newspix.