How Australia’s grassland farmers can get ahead
On a recent sunny morning in July, a small group of men and women gathered in a field at the end of a dirt road in the Australian Capital Territory to chat about the future of their farming business.
The landscape here is dotted with fields and rows of tall trees, with a large, white cow grazing on a few of them.
These are the ones they use to feed the cows and the cows are their biggest revenue stream.
In their view, they are a threat to the environment and they need to be taken out of the landscape.
A few hundred metres away, a couple of hundred metres to the north, there is a herd of goats grazing on an open pasture.
The animals have not been seen since a major rain event last year.
And as the sun sets, the herd of sheep stretches out its head on a patch of grass.
The men and the women sit quietly.
The atmosphere is relaxed, a bit like a party, with no energy being spent on what they are doing.
The grass here is like a garden, the women say, and it’s a pleasure to work here.
But these women and the men don’t think that the environment is a problem.
They do think that it is the work that goes on in this field that has to be improved.
For the past 15 years, they have been farming cattle on the same land, on the grasslands in their local community, but now they have to switch their attention to grassland farming.
“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” says Michael Kettler, one of the farmers.
“There are no cattle in the field.
And we have no grazing in the area, and we can’t use it for the cattle.
We have to plant grass on it.”
The grasslands are one of Australia’s most important ecosystems, providing the grass with moisture, nutrients and water.
They are also home to many of the world’s rarest animals.
“They are the only grassland mammals that can grow and reproduce without water, and that is the only place where they can survive in the wild,” says Kettlers brother, Peter.
“When we saw these animals, we thought they were going to be extinct.”
And so they started planting trees, grass and grassland crops on the land, hoping that they could protect the animals and the grassland from the grazing cattle.
But with the cattle gone, and the sheep in the pasture, they decided to leave.
They have now gone and planted a few more trees, planted some grass, and are now planning to move to the south-western part of the community, to a community with less cattle.
There are two reasons why Ketters brothers have decided to move.
First, they believe the cattle herd they were grazing will eventually be taken from them.
“We have to keep going,” says Peter.
But second, they say they will lose money, as the livestock that they were able to take to feed their cows will be gone.
“If we had not planted the grass, we could have been making a profit,” says David Kettinger.
They believe the money that they will be losing will be the cost of living and the money they have saved will be invested in other things.
The money they saved from the cattle will also be invested into a new business, with plans to invest the money into a local community.
It is the same story in the wider community.
A local farmer says the cattle are a great source of income.
“The grass is a source of revenue,” he says.
“But if you’re going to take the cattle, you’re not going to have the money to invest in a new industry.”
This is the story of what has been happening in the country’s grasslands for the past five decades.
The history of Australian grasslands goes back to the 1930s, when it was first used for agriculture.
Then, in the 1970s, farmers began planting grass on their land.
In the early 1990s, the Government announced a major expansion of its national grazing system, which included establishing national grasslands, the first of which was established in Victoria in the late 1990s.
Now, the country is on track to see a 70 per cent increase in Australia’s cattle population by 2050.
But it is only through the work of grassland farm groups that the country has made a comeback.
The National Grassland Alliance (NGFA) is an organisation that is focused on promoting grasslands as the future.
“You cannot go to a country and say to people ‘you’ve got to get off the land’ or ‘you can’t plant on it’,” says NGI president and CEO, Stephen Green.
For the first time in over a century, the Australian Government introduced a national grassland”
This Act basically made it a national obligation for the land owners and the landowners to use grasslands to grow their livestock.”
For the first time in over a century, the Australian Government introduced a national grassland