I am writing this Blog as I believe we need to document our journey on Picots Farm as we go, so we capture the magnitude of the realities and the rewards because we are writing about them as they happen- not reflecting on them 15 years with some-what rose coloured glasses because that deep feelings of that struggle or reward have been diluted by time. To offer real learning and insight into regenerative farming we have to capture life in the moment as things happen - by sharing our experiences- we give other farmers or people looking to enter farming support( you are not alone) and a pathway forward with ideas and learning, you can join us in celebrating the wins, also in the hope I can offer some insight for those seeking to understand the life of a farmer. ( mad as we may be)
My perspective of regenerative Farming is based on healthy soil = healthy food. As farmers make their livelihood from agriculture- the soil, no farmer is deliberately or consciously trying to damage the land. All farmers are on a spectrum of knowledge and experiences... from intensive industrialised Ag through to Regenerative Ag- which has an array of practices.
Industrial Ag is systemised- managing nature- input in- product out- it is linear, efficient, high production model and also high expenses.High yields and consistent products are rewarded by the buyers.
Regenerative Ag is based on natural processes- working with nature ( this allows you to reduce input costs), adapting to conditions- you can be quite nimble, understanding the root causes of problem and consequences of management tools on our specific environments. Products & yields vary and the foods quality and artificial input/chemical free status is rewarded by consumers.
There are a variety of Regenerative practices- we manage holistically- Holistic Management is a values based decision making process- with clarity about which tools enhance our ecosystem -such as properly managed livestock, cover cropping, and we plan for a profit first. We have articulated our values and described what our preferred future looks like- what we are working towards-
Preferred Future- When aspects are their best
Passionate, compassionate, forward thinking, fun, genuine, adaptive, open, intelligent, relaxed, content, energetic, encouraging, generous.
Home must be: open into nature, a hub for people, warm, attractive and practical, with a sense of space, safe & relaxed, orderly.
Our garden is productive, relaxing, cool, fun and aesthetically pleasing.
Work must be: stimulating, making a difference, flexible, profitable, fun, productive, regenerative, stable.
Our Community- is creative, open minded, friendly, safe, proud, positive, supportive, thriving.
Our infrastructure- up to date, multipurpose, accessible, reliable, safe, easy to use, durable, fit for purpose
Our Land is- regenerative, healthy, diverse, productive, natural seeps/ springs flowing, our water supply is flexible. A balance of livestock and wildlife . Diverse plants from grass to trees, Perennial pastures- full bodied, thick broad leaf, diversity of species, 100% groundcover, grassed savannah, good shade. Healthy, happy stock, Dams to swim in that are healthy & clean.
We are 25km west of Warwick have flood plain flats, up to hills and then into traprock - shallow soil- we are starting with lots of timber, our organic matter at our monitoring sites Dec 2017 5.4% & 5.8%. ( Average for our area is 1.5%)
We have been on Picots Farm for 7 years- . after moving a removal house up from Brisbane- (I have always loved recycling so why not recycle a house?) We were able to settle on Picots farm with our then 2yr old( Isobel) and 4 yr old ( Archie) . Ian was working full time as a Surveyor in Toowoomba and I continued working as an Holistic Management Educator- training people in values based decisions making and as General Manager of the Outback Way project from home. We purchased our paddocks from Ian's parents- Total 1000 acres.
(Vendor finance is a great tool to get started without the debt loading)
We did the weekend warrior farming thing for the following 6 years... in that time we created our Aged Grass Fed Beef business and Ian managed the livestock- moving them regularly to ensure they had fresh feed and we minimised over grazing. I have been biologically monitoring for 8 years every Feb/March to take a snap shot of what is happening on soil surface.
In the coming blogs I will outline this last year on the farm- Ian being a full time farmer, drought, rain, the result of being too optimistic and our plan for the coming winter. I will also provide more detail about the different Regenerative practices.
if you have any specific questions- please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment on the page
.. until next time- Be the best you can be!