We had a little chat with Pip from Gregory Downs recently …
We are a family owned and run farm. We have just under 1000acres of land north of Young in the Hilltops region of the South West slopes. We live on our certified organic farm with our 2 daughters now 11 and 13 and our many pets! Cats, dogs, horses, chickens and a canary! We predominantly run cattle but we also run a few sheep and an alpaca, and now we also breed organic pigs.
We try to grow and eat as much of our own food as possible. Where we can’t we buy organic if we can. We have a small orchard, vegetable garden, hens for our eggs and eat our own organic grass raised beef and lamb.
Clinton grew up in the Northern Territory on a cattle station so has worked with and loved cattle all his life. Since moving down south onto a smaller property he loves being able to work more closely with the cattle and knows each animal we have on the farm!
We run a small herd of around 80 cows and carry their calves through. We run Angus bulls and Hereford and Black Baldy cows. Our focus is on the health and welfare of our animals and ourselves, and on the regeneration of our land – on increasing biodiversity of native plants and animals on our farm and in our soil.
We are currently part of a study with the Australian National University on increasing biodiversity of plants and animals on our farm whilst grazing cattle in our holistic natural grazing system.
We only run small numbers of stock as we only graze our stock on grass. We are constantly adjusting our numbers to ensure that we never run out of grass. This of course depends on the rain we get and at what times of year. No extra fodder or grain is fed to our stock. We believe strongly that the cattle need to graze naturally eating grass only – certified organic grass at that.
We practice holistic management and constantly move our cattle around onto fresh pasture, this also enables plants to rest and regenerate.
Pip has been studying nutritional medicine for the last 3 years part time and has a special interest in children’s health. This knowledge has reinforced the importance of eating organic grass raised meat and the privilege and responsibility that we have in raising these healthy animals
Why we went organic?
Clinton grew up and worked with cattle in the NT on a station where there were natural systems. He also grew up with, and worked with the aboriginal people that he shared the land with. This gave him an education and appreciation of the land and environment like no other. Pip also spent three years working with aboriginal children in Central Australia.
Once we moved down south we tried to apply the same principles. We both came from backgrounds where we questioned the use of chemicals in our environment.
Once we had children this became even more important. We found that one of our girls had multiple chemical sensitivities. Intolerances and allergies to chemicals in her food and her environment, from the toys she played with to the furniture she sat on and the air she was breathing. We were already not using chemical inputs on the farm but this prompted a big learning curve about the preposterous amount of synthetic chemicals in the world we live in and how to eat clean in order to heal and thrive.
We became certified organic in 2012 after deciding we would rather sell our cattle to people who were looking for organic grass raised meat rather than it disappear into the commodity market. We didn’t need to change any farming practices, just the paperwork.
For the moment our focus is on organic grass raised beef cattle, however we are constantly pondering on introducing new ventures, perhaps some little piglets would be very cute running around, and maybe a place on the farm where people could come and stay to experience our environment and learn more about what we do.