Whether it’s business partners or farm staff, Creese nurtures relationships.
“My background made me realise there’s nothing wrong in going into business with people,” he says. “I’ve always been open to opportunities, and surrounding yourself with good people is how you grow your business.
“We run quite a flat line management system, with everyone specialising in one thing,” he adds. “Once people reach management stage, I try to let them specialise in what they like doing. I sit across the top and juggle all the balls.”
Creese is known as one of those ‘good people’ himself. His success at turning underperforming farms into highly efficient commodity producers has earned him an international reputation. Ten years ago he teamed up with a UK farmer to buy some land. Together, they now own a couple of farms around Forbes in NSW that Creese manages remotely.
“It’s pure wheat and canola so it’s very much about diversification.” he says.
In 2002, Danish company Ingelby was looking for a long-term sustainable property in Tasmania. It turned to Creese for advice and asked if he knew of a farm ripe for upgrading. As it happened, he did.
“The only reason I hadn’t bought Clovelly was because I couldn’t afford it,” he says. “I had my Simplot potatoes and my own farming business running beef and sheep, so I thought I could manage Clovelly as another diversification.”
Creese adds that while Clovelly began as a potato farm, he spotted the opportunity to turn it into a dairy.
Not content with improving the land through irrigation, the farm has a system for using the cows’ run-off from the milking shed: “All the solids are spread on the dry sandy banks and the liquid we put back through the irrigators and lightly spread over the paddocks.” he explains.
Sixteen years later, Creese is now managing 18,000 hectares for Ingelby across Tasmania, Victoria and New Zealand.
He also still has his own farm aggregation near Bridport in Tasmania’s north-east that has grown to 4,000 hectares.