At a glance
Who: Jane and Ian Campbell, Manana Pastoral
What: Olives, Angus Cattle and Australian White Sheep
Where: Inglewood, Toobeah and St George, QLD
Can you tell us about your property/enterprise?
Ian and I have Angus Cattle and Australian White Sheep at Toobeah, 50 kms from Goondiwindi, and at St George. We also grow some organic crops at St George as well, like triticale and barley. We have 10,000 olive trees along the Macintyre Brook, and an olive processing facility at Inglewood. We enjoy the diversity of what we do and the mix of properties.
We had been farming organically in the Border Rivers Region of QLD for seventeen years. We owned and operated Barambah Organics dairy for twenty years, and then decided to step away from the daily operations. We now lease out our three certified organic dairy farms, located on the Bellinger River in NSW, and along the Dumaresq River in QLD, to a private equity group.
What are some of the opportunities you see for your business/property in coming years?
We are enjoying the ability to pivot and turn towards an area of agriculture that interests us. Ian is an excellent rural scientist, and I have a strong interest in environmental law. We are looking forward to further developing our enterprise into a highly sustainable operation that is prepared for a changing climate. Actively participating in the carbon market is an opportunity that we see in the coming years.
And what are your main challenges now, and into the future?
The 2022 floods have been a challenge for us, as the fast-moving water took out fences and carved out new channels. We have been re-building this year. The unpredictability of the seasons is a challenge, which will require us to future proof ourselves, by storing fodder for the inevitable dry years ahead.
How has climate change impacted your farm business?
It has required us to be more thoughtful about how we operate. Having healthy soil is the key to successful farming. If we can sequester further carbon, it will allow us to retain more moisture in the soil. This is the building block for producing highly nutritious feed for our animals.
What are some of the on-farm adaptations or changes you’ve been employing in recent years and what’s driving them? How successful have they been, and what benefits have you seen as a result? (have you collected any evidence of these benefits, and if so could you share this?)
We have been actively working on the following in recent years: improving soil fertility, and reducing water runoff; increasing biodiversity, and making sure we have a range of mixed grasses in the paddocks. The planting of a variety of grasses has been hugely successful. We have two centre pivots in operation at St George, and the grasses under pivot are responding incredibly well, outcompeting weeds.
What are your hopes for Ag in Australia, into the future?
As parents of two daughters, we want to ensure that there is a future viable agricultural industry, that allows producers to stay on the land. Having a thriving local community, with service providers, is essential to that too. Being food producers is something we value highly.