Introducing Raelene Hall of Ned’s Creek Station, Raelene’s story is number 25 in our quest to feature 52 Farmers in 52 weeks as part of our celebration of the Australian Year of the Farmer.
Summary of your family and farming enterprise:
We run a beef cattle station in the East Gascoyne/Interior region of WA. Our property is a pastoral lease of approx 404 000 hectares which has been in our family since my father in law bought it back in 1946. We run approximately 4000 head in good seasons.
The station now has 3 generations of our family living/working on it. My inlaws are still here, my husband and his brother and now our two sons also help run the property. We also have a daughter who helps out when home on holidays from boarding school.
Our cattle are mixed breeds as over the years we have experimented with varying bull types. We have bought in Brahman bulls at one stage but have now moved away from them to the Droughtmaster breed. Our cattle are sold live weight through the Muchea Livestock Centre (out of Perth).
The property is in a difficult area for rainfall as we are too low for the ‘wet’ rains of the north and too high for the winter rains of the south. However most of our rain does fall in summer from thunderstorms and depressions from cyclones.
For you, what is the best life style factor that you enjoy as a farmer?
It is a wonderful lifestyle in which to bring up children as they have the freedom to learn a range of skills. We get to see mother nature at its best and worst, be in a secure family environment and reap the rewards of our own hard work. That said, there is no denying it can be tough at times, for both men and women, with varying seasonal conditions, rising costs without the same increase in income, the isolation (both physical and mental) and the gradual overtaking of properties by Governments and mining companies.
What do you foresee as your biggest short and long term challenges in farming?
The biggest challenges in the short term I see are: the animal liberationist movement who would stop all farming if they could, meeting all the various rules and regulations being applied to us and our business and the impact of mining on pastoral leases.
Long term issues that concern me are the impact the carbon tax will have on our ability to run our business and make a decent living for our family, the risk of disease being brought in from other countries which would decimate our industry e.g. Foot and mouth and the failure of Governments to realise that farmers feed, not only the nation, but the world.
What do you wish non-farmers/city people and the Australian Government understood about farming? What message would you like to put on a billboard in Collins Street?
I would like city people to understand just one thing. No farmers, no food. It is as simple as that. We have to make people understand the importance of our agricultural industry in Australia and that without the support of consumers and Government it will struggle to survive. Farmers are price takers and not price makers. If your meat/vegetables/milk are too expensive it is not the farmer who is benefitting.
If I could put one message on a billboard in the middle of any capital city in Australia it would say:
Tell Your Supermarket: If it isn’t from an Aussie Farm I won’t buy it.