GROWING up on his family’s farm in Young, NSW, led Tristan Shannon, 30, to pursue a career in agriculture.
He decided to follow an agri tech path, and started his career at the Clear Grain Exchange, where he helped to facilitate transactions between growers and buyers of grain.
“I started at a grower’s sale level, meeting with farmers to show them the product,” Mr Shannon said.
“My role evolved, and I took on the management of the exchange, where I looked after the business, sales, marketing, development, finance and legal teams.”
After working with the Clear Grain Exchange for five years, he said he was ready for a new challenge, and decided it was time to move on.
Mr Shannon went back to his family farm, where he helped his parents with their succession plan.
“We sat down as a family and identified our options, whether we sell the farm, whether Dad continues to run it, whether we employ a manager, downsize, or even upsize by buying our neighbour’s property,” he said.
“My brother and I were both quite happy in the corporate sector, so neither of us were ready to head back to the farm.”
He said the family decided to buy the neighbour’s property, and then lease the whole property out.
“Dad grew up on our farm, so it would have been daunting for him to sell the farm and move away,” he said.
After working on the succession plan for about two years, Mr Shannon decided it was time to get back into the corporate world.
He set up two businesses, one was an ag tech consulting business called Virtual Unity, and the other a platform that pulls together different farm management softwares, The Digital Farmer.
“At Virtual Unity, we consult with ag tech companies, helping with their strategy and any excess work they could outsource,” he said.
“As we started consulting in the ag tech space, we noticed a lot of farmers didn’t know where to start when looking for a new farm management software, so we created The Digital Farmer, which pulls together all the different softwares into the one platform.”
Mr Shannon said all of the networking involved in these two businesses was what landed him a position as operations manager at startup company, Full Profile, just four months ago.
“We’re developing commodity management software, which will be underpinned by Blockchain, a new technology that is going to evolve traditional financial transactions, and allow for things like real time payments, secure settlements, and provenance,” he said.
“We’ve just released our first product, AgriDigital, which allows buyers, growers and bulk handlers to manage grain contracts, deliveries, inventories and payments.”
Mr Shannon said a lot of his success to date is thanks to the contacts built and skills learnt at Marcus Oldham, where he completed a four year farm management and business course.
“As well as teaching us the logic, they taught us how to improve it,” he said.
“We were taught to not accept things for how they were, to always be thinking of new ways to improve things.”