Big­ger farm de­liv­ers more value to fam­ily

Countryman - - NEWS - Rueben Hale

The re­turn of the chil­dren to the farm has meant a move to greener pas­tures for the Has­sell fam­ily of Pin­gelly.

It has been six months since John and Michelle Has­sell moved from their pre­vi­ous prop­erty close to town to a more ex­ten­sive prop­erty 15km fur­ther out.

Their new home is near twice the size and com­plete with room for the sheep and crop­ping en­ter­prise to grow as the chil­dren El­iza, Chelsea and George, slowly take the reins and maybe even bot­tle some wine grown from its vine­yards.

Mr Has­sell, who was elected as a CBH board di­rec­tor in April 2009 and stood as a the Na­tion­als can­di­date in the WA ru­ral seat of O’Con­nor at last year’s Fed­eral elec­tion, said the for­mer farm’s 1200ha was never go­ing to sup­port three chil­dren and their fam­i­lies in the fu­ture.

Un­like some of his peers, Mr Has­sell said all of his chil­dren were in­ter­ested in agri­cul­ture.

“One has done agribusi­ness and the oth­ers have done agri­cul­tural sci­ence,” he said. “So, re­gard­ing suc­ces­sion plan­ning, to hang on to an area that was su­per tightly held was not go­ing to be pos­si­ble for us.

“If the kids weren’t in­ter­ested in com­ing home, it would have been an easy de­ci­sion for us to stay where we were. But we had to con­sider how we were go­ing to get them into the busi­ness.”

Mr Has­sell said Pin­gelly of­fered the best op­por­tu­nity to ex­pand.

“We looked at farms near Wan­der­ing,” he said.

“They had for­est grav­els and noth­ing grows un­der it.

“In com­par­i­son, the prop­erty we set­tled on at Pin­gelly, about onethird of the farm is not suit­able for crop­ping but makes up for it as ex­cel­lent graz­ing coun­try. The pas­ture grows very well amongst the rocks, and the sheep don’t seem to mind wan­der­ing amongst the un­du­lat­ing land for­ag­ing about.”

Mr Has­sell said he had dou­bled sheep num­bers and planted about 1000ha of wheat, canola, lupins, oats, and hay since mov­ing to the new farm.

“They say the first year on a new prop­erty typ­i­cally ends up be­ing a drought, but for us, it has been op­po­site of that with many hours spent pulling ma­chin­ery out of boggy clay soil,” he said.

Mr Has­sell said the farm’s sheep and wool en­ter­prise had ben­e­fited from the new farm and some good luck.

“Mov­ing to land with good graz­ing ca­pac­ity un­der­neath has de­liv­ered more value than we’d orig­i­nally fac­tored be­cause of the pos­i­tive mar­ket,” he said.

“We didn’t know the sheep and wool prices were go­ing to rocket when we de­cided to buy, but we have ben­e­fited from the mar­ket al­most in­stantly af­ter de­cid­ing to buy the land.”

Mr Has­sell said the fam­ily’s luck con­tin­ued when they pur­chased sheep to in­crease the flock.

“Sheep prices at Katan­ning went to about $212, but we bought our ewes the day be­fore for $86,” he said.

“We also have a re­li­able guy who sup­plies our rams, and he of­fered us sheep when the prices were a lot lower than they are now.

“He was an in­cred­i­bly de­cent guy and al­lowed us to con­tinue with the pur­chase even though prices had gone through the roof."

Pho­tos avail­able at west­ Pic­tures: Rueben Hale

John and Michelle Has­sell on their new farm near Pin­gelly.

Pin­gelly farmer John Has­sell says de­spite a var­ied sea­son, he ex­pects his crops will be quite good this year.

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