JAMES

Country Style - - OUR LIFE IN THE COUNTRY GRENFELL NSW -

I’ve lived here all my life. My par­ents, Alan and Pam, bought their farm across the road in 1966. Like many coun­try kids, I went to school in Syd­ney and then up to uni­ver­sity in Ar­mi­dale to study ru­ral sci­ence, which is where I met Sarah. We bought Fairview in 1996, just be­fore we got mar­ried, and have been run­ning our own busi­ness for more than 10 years now. We started out buy­ing a block and have just kept adding onto it. We also lease an­other place from Sarah’s par­ents, who bought on the other side in 2006. That’s where our on-farm cot­tage is. Be­ing across the road from my par­ents works re­ally well. We have our own equip­ment and stock, but we do share — I prob­a­bly bor­row more from my dad than the other way around — and we work well to­gether. We run 2600 hectares, mostly win­ter crop­ping. At one point we were farm­ing more, but with the drought and other con­sid­er­a­tions we de­cided to down­size slightly and take a dif­fer­ent turn, adding value to what we grow. When I started farm­ing, I thought it was all about grow­ing big­ger, in­creas­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity and ef­fi­cien­cies. But with the cy­cle of drought, it didn’t mat­ter what we did. Lambs were the first thing we sold di­rect. The sea­son starts in March, then again in May, and the lambs leave the farm from July on­wards. Qual­ity is re­ally im­por­tant to me — I in­di­vid­u­ally weigh and fat score every lamb that leaves this prop­erty. Get­ting the cus­tomers’ feed­back is in­valu­able. I love it when they tell me that it’s the best lamb they’ve ever eaten.

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