XLD COMMODITIES STORY
While on his small farm, outside Evandale in Tasmania’s north, surveying a canola crop- Paul Willows discovered a problem facing himself, and other growers- they were without a secure price for their produce.
Paul explained the problem to an old friend and colleague, Lachie Stevens, who shared his advice to Paul - “Stop whinging, and do something about it”.
From there, Paul and Lachie created the idea of XLD.
In their past lives, both men were Louis Dreyfus employees, a company they value greatly. XLD simply represents ‘ex Louis Dreyfus’, and was planned to be a placeholder for the time being. Like all good temporary names, it stuck. Originally XLD Grain, the name has shifted with the growth of the business and industry to become XLD Commodities.
With passion for agriculture at heart, both Paul and Lachie have backgrounds in trading and finance. With experience in risk management and volatile global markets, they wanted to share their knowledge with Tasmanian farmers. In turn, empowering growers and building grower confidence.
Paul’s passion grew from a combination of interests. While studying agricultural science at university, an interest in trading also developed. His interest peaked when a friend in tech showed Paul a live feed of information from the of prices from the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade, from that point Paul was hooked. After graduating, he followed his instinct and interest to Chicago.
Before XLD, Paul continued his career in trading with Goldman Sachs and Louis Dreyfus as Head of Trading Asia, then returned to Australia and delved into agriculture as Head of Agricultural Trading with Macquarie Bank.
Stepping to XLD full time, Paul was nervous, but excited by the opportunity to both work with growers and create a team of people who shared the desire to make a difference in Tasmanian agriculture.
In Tasmania, farmers were struggling to find a stable market for their grain, an added pressure among many others. Paul recognised the chance to create a market for growers and provide tools that would assist in financial and operational decision making, giving farmers confidence in their businesses through price surety.
While price surety may sound like industry jargon, the idea behind it is simple:
Provide customers with a locked in price, for outputs and inputs, up to three years in future. In turn, providing knowledge and security.
In an industry that knows great struggle, earning trust and respect can be difficult, and this proved a challenge for XLD. On top of being a new business, they were also introducing a new concept. The idea of locking in contracts three years in future was uncommon to most Tasmanian farmers. This meant proving it was a positive step towards risk management, rather than a negative took some time.
XLD have quietly made a name for themselves, building valuable relationships with farmers and modestly expanding to support growth in the industry.
However, the potential to continue to broaden Tasmania’s agricultural offering is huge, and XLD will be a constant pillar of support in this evolution. XLD's goal is to become a key piece of the Tasmanian agricultural community, achieving this by growing a passionate and inspired team, with genuine interest in agriculture and expanding the reach of Tasmanian produce.
The team at XLD is key to business growth, members of staff are selected for their drive and passion.
The young and enthusiastic team share the common goal of growing the agricultural industry, the business and themselves. XLD is committed to continuing to develop career pathways and building the future for Tasmanian agribusiness.