Introducing Paul, Ross, William, Sam, Benjamin and Danielle of Sidonia Hills Pasture Grazed Beef. Sidonia Hills is located 19 kms northeast of popular foodie town Kyneton in the Macedon Ranges, Victoria. This is the 46th story I have featured recognising the farmers who work hard to supply this country with food in celebration of the Australian Year of the Farmer.
Our family and farming enterprise
We are a sixth-generation pastoral family – twice over. Our paternal grandfather turned rabbit-infested granite hill country into a viable pastoral farm. Our maternal grandfather is recognised as an Unsung Hero at the Australian Stockmen’s Hall of Fame in Longreach, Qld. I guess you could say farming is in our blood.
Sidonia Hills is run by us six kids (Paul, Ross, William, Sam, Benjamin and Danielle) – it’s our way of honouring our pastoral heritage and ensuring the pastoral experience, knowledge and passion that our parents share with us continues into the future.
Sam works alongside our father as the farm’s day-to-day Manager while the rest of us manage various roles: from marketing & communications to supply chain logistics. We’re a big family and Sidonia Hills is very much a team effort.
Our 2000-acre family farm is nestled amongst Sidonia’s granite hills just North of foodie town Kyneton. The farm has been raising free-grazing prime beef on undulating pastures since 1923.
We use broad-acre sustainable organic/biodynamic/non-chemical/no-hormone practices. Our cattle graze freely on natural pastures, which we allow to regenerate via organic mulching, topping and resting paddocks to encourage soil restoration. We also keep a low stocking density to enable best-practice animal and environment management.
We plant native trees for wind breaks and stock shelters and fence-off areas where stands of old native trees and grasses remain to allow natural tree, grass and under-story regeneration and to encourage biodiversity. We also plant along river and watercourses to help prevent erosion and encourage water purity.
For us, the key to producing flavoursome, sustainable, healthy, premium beef is all about the health of the soil, water and pasture that our animals choose to graze upon – the saying, “you are what you eat” applies to our animals too!
The best lifestyle factor that we enjoy as a farming family
Like many other farming families, it’s tough to choose the ‘best’ lifestyle factor, so we’ve choosen a few of our favourite things: fresh air, birdsong, tranquility, engaging with the seasons, learning about Mother Nature, family connection through our shared custodianship of such a precious and beautiful resource.
Our biggest short-term farming challenges
Our biggest short-term farming challenge is to educate all those involved in the paddock to plate supply chain. Our key challenges include getting people to agree that animal welfare need not stop once our animals leave the farm gate and that paying a little more for quality natural beef is a wise option compared to consuming cheaper beef of unknown origin, treatment and chemicals.
Our biggest long-term farming challenges
Climate and seasonal changes – from drought to floods to fires to pestilence – have always been a great challenge to farming families. We do our best to limit the negative impacts by working with Nature and being as preventive, supportive and responsive as we can along the way.
Despite such challenges our greatest challenges come from human attitudes to food – the great disconnection between food production and consumption. The challenge is how to change mind frames, behaviours and industry and get our nation to eat local, eat seasonal, eat less and eat healthy. Quality before quantity will reduce the stress on our environment and our collective health.
Our wish to be understood. Our message for Collins Street billboard
We support Brigadoon Harvest’s fantastic message: “Nutrition before yield; People before profit” – we would happily adopt this and make it the national farming and consumer ethos for all! Our personal billboard message would be: “Good things take time to grow. Beef is seasonal too!”
Sidonia Hills Pasture Grazed Beef
Sidonia Rd, Sidonia Vic 3444
m. 0499 186 252