Multigenerational Farmer and Conservationist are Hitting the Sustainable Beef Farming Bulls-Eye
August 6, 2019
Leading the way for the sustainable beef industry, a multigenerational farmer and his conservationist wife are being celebrated for their efforts in merging sustainable beef farming with a successful business model. These efforts have been recognized by OSI and global customers as an outstanding example of how to impact the environment in a positive way while maintaining a focus on animal welfare and running a profitable farm.
Brad and Danielle Carr run a world-class farm that focuses on the well-being of the cows and animals as well as the environment, the waterways and the ecosystem as a whole, which is why they are part of the OSI Sustainability 365 Farmer Recognition Program. This program encourages and recognizes the farmers who make sustainable farming practices their top priority when producing food.
It is important to recognize farmers like the Carrs, so the entire industry can celebrate the hard work and dedication such farmers demonstrate by matching high quality beef production with world-leading sustainability practices. As a global leader in protein production, OSI believes it is important to highlight the Carr’s work to share their best practices with the rest of the world and to encourage other farms to make similar efforts.
MULTIGENERATIONAL FARMING MEETS CONSERVATION
For nearly a century, Brad’s family has been farming its land in South Gippsland, Australia. Brad’s grandfather established the farm and his father was involved in running it, investing heavily to expand the operation. To honor his father and grandfather, Brad took over and made the decision to transition operations into an all-beef farm.
At the end of 2005, Danielle joined Brad and brought with her an expertise in conservation biology. In addition to raising a family of their own to carry on the farming tradition, Brad and Danielle have emphasized farm stewardship in their operations to empower their children to succeed in the future.
HAPPY ENVIRONMENT, HAPPY SUSTAINABLE BEEF
The Carrs prioritize having a healthy, positive impact on the environment and on the farm to promote a sustainable balance between beef farming and CO2 emissions. Critical to this effort is strategic revegetation of native plants in environmentally sensitive areas on the farm and between paddocks as habitat corridors.
The cattle are happier with the planting that has been done and that the Carrs continue to place. The Carrs have also have seen the wildlife benefitting from the happy, healthy and environmentally friendly grounds. When visiting their farm, the Carrs are quick to point out exactly where the kangaroo mob now gathers thanks to the increase of trees and buffer zones around their grazing lands.
Brad and Danielle have been revegetating sections of the farm since 2005 when Danielle joined the family business and shared her proficiency and experience in conservation practices. Over the past decade, they have preserved remnant bushlands, planted shelterbelts between paddocks, and fenced off and restored native vegetation along creeks and rivers.
These activities provide important benefits to address sustainability challenges by ensuring an improvement of water quality and prevention of erosion and topsoil run-off, providing habitat corridors for wildlife along the creeks and rivers, and supplying essential shelter from the elements for beef cattle raised on the farm, while humanely controlling pest animals and weed species with minimal environmental impact.
SUSTAINABLE BEEF FARMING IS A PROFITABLE BUSINESS
The Carrs have been able to practice sustainable farming while achieving their business and operational goals, which is critical to a long-lasting business in an increasingly sustainability-conscious market. They buy steers and sell raised bullocks at optimum times when prices are desirable. This has allowed for better profits that, in turn, have allowed for more purchasing opportunities.
Their beef is measured by Meat Standards Australia (MSA), a program used to ensure consistency of eating quality in red meat based on consumer taste tests. Part of the reason they are able to achieve this is through their focus on improving efficiency to achieve quicker returns from their cattle, improve their pasture quality and productivity, and minimize input costs.
“We truly believe that our sustainability measures are not only beneficial for the environment and our business, but are also highly beneficial for our cattle’s wellbeing, which creates a win-win situation for all involved,” said Brad Carr. “We are proud to be recognized for providing the most favorable and sought after cattle in the country.”
SUSTAINABLE BEEF COMES FROM A HAPPY ENVIRONMENT
The Carrs understand that they can maximize the positive impact they are having on the industry by maintaining and growing their relationships with partners. That is why they are committed to maintaining quality relationships with agents, suppliers and buyers, as well as neighboring farmers.
Good relationships also open more valuable opportunities for their business through regular communication and a well-established reputation among peers. Through association with several area landcare groups, they have hosted planting days and field days at their farm for more than 60 participants, including a local primary school.
Their neighbors have also seen the benefits of their planting on the farm, leading to a spillover effect as they have followed the Carr’s lead and revegetated sections of their own farm, further compounding the positive environmental impact.
The Carrs seek to maintain very high animal welfare standards. Animal welfare is ensured at all times by assessing and addressing risks in the environment, handling animals with minimal stress and providing a constant supply of fresh water and quality fodder. Any animal movement and rotation is done calmly, which is the same practice followed for loading and unloading steers into trucks.
The Carrs also focus on the physical and mental well-being of their animals by maintaining constant vigilance through daily cattle drives to inspect and ensure their health. If they spot an ill animal, they carefully herd it to a paddock closer to the house and stockyards for treatment and closer observation.
“We want to encourage our kids that whatever they do in their lives, to think about the wildlife and the conservation side of things, making sure that they know where their food comes from,” said Danielle Carr. “We are trying to teach them by example to respect the environment as well as the animals, and enjoy the food that comes from a happy environment.”
SPREADING THE WORD ABOUT SUSTAINABLE BEEF
The Carrs use every available opportunity to promote sustainable beef farming practices and the benefits they have seen to the environment and to their business as a result. Brad’s rural farm fencing business and local cattle sales provide further channels for sharing these innovative practices with fellow farmers. These farmers hear regularly about the benefits of creating shelter for cattle – which improves the productivity of the stock – and improving soil, pasture and water quality through revegetating some sections of the farm. Many of these farmers are becoming inspired to implement similar practices and techniques on their own farms.
Brad and Danielle also share their efforts, challenges and successes with audiences outside of agriculture. They are in constant communication with family and friends, neighbors, local schools and clubs that are associated with the family to spread the word as far and wide as possible about sustainable beef practices.
“We enjoy telling our story to show consumers where their product originates from and to inform them of the high standards and criteria we stand by,” said the Carrs. “We need to encourage them to support small and local businesses, especially those that support our fragile, natural environment. And we need to encourage them to purchase animal products that come from places with high animal welfare and quality assurance standards.”
If you or anyone you know is interested in learning more about the OSI Sustainability 365 Farmer Recognition Program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.