Teacher switches to business life in pork industry
A TEACHER who married a pig farmer became the only female producer on the board of a business.
Guest speaker Tracy Anderson shared her story at the Burnett Inland Women in Agriculture event in Durong for Queensland Women's Week on March 3.
The mother of three now lives on a Hivesville piggery which caters to 5000 pigs.
Mrs Anderson was a teacher for 21 years, including working in north Queensland and a year spent teaching in inner-city London.
"Teaching has taken me to unbelievable places,” she said.
Mrs Anderson met her now husband, Peter, while she was the teaching principal at Monogorilby State School.
She married the South Burnett pig farmer in 2003.
"When I married my husband I had no experience whatsoever with pigs, it was a completely new world for me,” she said.
"It actually takes you a long time, when you marry into an established family business, to find your place.”
Mrs Anderson did her own study and research to learn more about farming and the pork industry.
In 2014 the farm's pig wholesaler went into liquidation, costing the family business lots of money.
"We were devastated, but it had nothing to do with the money that we'd lost, it was the fact that we felt we had lost our direction in our business,” she said.
This loss was a turning point for the business, when other pig producers reached out to the business in support.
The following year, the family decided they were going to double their business and not let the circumstances dictate their future.
They invested heavily into the business through infrastructure and technology.
The farming family's pig producer support group morphed into a business to form the Riverbend Pork Group in 2015.
The group grew and Mrs Anderson became the only female producer on the board of seven directors.
"When you sit at the table with established men of business, it can be pretty challenging,” she said.
The Riverbend Pork Group has received challenges such as the market crash in the pig industry and the drought.
"Through these challenges you get strong and grateful for what you're going to get, you move on and stay positive,” she said.
Riverbend Pork Group opened an office in Toowoomba with a specialist pig vet, pig nutritionist, marketer and full-time administration officer, which services sows to outside clients in addition to their own.
She now works for the Riverbend Pork Group as a director and chair, as well as a member of the business and finance committee.
In addition to this she fits in family time, raising three children and looking after the animals on the farm.
"I'm busy, but if you really want it it can be yours, if you really want something enough you can have it,” Mrs Anderson said.