Introducing Michael Trant. Michael farms with his family in WA. He is also adept at making entertaining YouTube videos that you can check out here, and hilarious blog series on the Golden Rules of Farming!
1. Summary of our business
We are a family business with three properties in the Midwest Region of WA. We have a small 240 acre block where myself and Gemma live, a 2200 acre farm down the road and since 2009, Gemma’s parent Mike and Helen live on and manage Gabyon Station, 200 kilometres east of Geraldton in the shire of Yalgoo.
Our business is very diversified. We run Damara and Damara / Dorper cross sheep on all properties. The farm is used for raising the Damara stud Alcheringa Damara while the station produces the commercial flock and rangeland goats. Since 2006 we have built and run a 20,000 head AQIS quarantine sheep depot for protocolling sheep and goats prior to live shipping on our small block. We also supply Capretto (baby goat) to Perth butchers when available, sell lamb and goat meat at the Geraldton Farmers Markets, we grow hay for the station and feedlot on the farms and Gemma also pregnancy scans ewes for other farmers.
Our main market for our sheep is the live trade, but we are mixing some new genetics into our Damara flocks to eventually end up with a tough easy care breed suited to the rangeland environment of Gabyon, that is acceptable to both the live and domestic markets.
2. Lifestyle Factors
All of us agree the best thing about farming is the freedom to be your own boss. All of us at some point have worked the 9 to 5 jobs or similar, and that is not for us. Though the weekly pay cheque is nice, farming gives the chance to do a wide variety of jobs, rather than a select few.
We might be fencing one week, mustering the next, planting crops a week later and so on it goes. Farming is one of those jobs where you can see what you are achieving. Whether it’s a new fence line, a crop growing, healthy stock or improved soils, there is a satisfaction gained from being able to look at something tangible and say “Yep. We did that.”
Our biggest short term challenge today is Government. They seem intent on making it very hard for us. The new rules for live export of sheep started at the end of February, which requires the importers to have their facilities audited and the exporter held liable should anything go wrong.
Our personal views are they are trying to ban live export by making it too hard. If those rules were implemented across every pet store in Australia, there would be an outcry of indignation.
It seems at every turn there is a new rule, a new “procedure” or a new level of bureaucracy we have to hurdle, whether it is GM varieties, water rights, land rights, animal rights, fees and charges or a new tax.
4. Message for Canberra
We wish more people could get out and see just how much effort goes into their food. We hope they also understand that much as we all love our jobs, nobody stays in a job long if they can’t make it pay. All the romance of lifestyle and outdoors aside, farming is a business. And businesses need to be profitable to keep going. And we wish the Government’s would just let us farm in peace.
Billboard message – “There’s no taste like Aussie home grown. Help us keep it that way.”
Michael Trant & Gemma Cripps
You can get in touch with Michael via Twitter @farmersway
Alcheringa Damara Stud – Phone: 08 99233098
Michael’s blog is number 11 in our quest for 52 farming blogs in 52 weeks.
It’s our way of celebrating the Australian Year of the Farmer.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading more about the fella that makes us all laugh with his quick wit and his great insight on so many issues affecting Aussie agriculture. Certainly sounds like an impressive operation you and your family run. I reckon a publishing deal on the “golden rules of farming” would just about top it off. Keep entertaining us Michael; you keep us all real!