Jamie, Australia – Rancher Spotlight
Jamie’s farm has been in operation since 1985. Starting with just 100 cattle, he now stocks 5000. Located on the far northwest coast of Tasmania, where the air is clean, rainfall is abundant, and temperatures are mild enough for year-round grazing, Jamie’s farm raises cattle wholly outdoors in their natural environment. Jamie says, “This is ethically better for the animals. They are less stressed and their food is clean and natural.” Jamie’s cattle eat a healthy, 0.7-1.0 kilograms (or 1.5-2.2 pounds) of grass per day.
For Jamie, it’s important to give his customers a high quality product that is also Certified Humane. “As a beef producer, we are responsible not only for what our customers eat, but also the health and wellbeing of our animals,” Jamie says. He enjoys getting to know his cattle and their different personalities, and giving them the best possible life they can have.
While anyone who has tried their hand at running a ranch knows it is not easy, it can also be very rewarding.
Being around the animals, learning from mistakes, improving the process, and working outside are all positives to the job. “Balancing work and family life is challenging for me,” Jamie explains, “farming is unpredictable because of the livestock and often I have to work long days, weekends, and holidays to make sure the cattle are properly cared for. When I do take time off I enjoy spending it with my family.”
Can you tell us the history of the farm and how it began?
In 1985 we started buying land and developing it into agricultural land. At this stage we were milking 100 cows. We reared our own calves and bought more as well and placed them on the new development land. We did this for 15 years and this is how we started to build up our beef cattle numbers. When the business become profitable enough we started buying pure beef calves. In 1996 when there was a large beef slump we bought in large numbers of beef calves and stopped rearing our own calves. Currently we are close to stocking 5000 cattle.
What makes this farm unique?
The location is one reason the farm is unique. It’s located on the far North-west coast of Tasmania in the roaring 40s (Westerly winds that rip around the Earth in latitudes between 40 and 50 degrees). The air is some of the cleanest in the world, the climate is temperate, we can grow grass all year round and the cattle doesn’t have to be housed. This means we can raise and fatten cattle outside all year round.
Why is grass-fed better?
Ethically, it is better to raise the cattle in their natural environment. They are less stressed and their food is clean and natural. In turn, the food we produce for consumers is a natural, high quality product.
Why is Certified Humane important?
As a beef producer we are responsible for the health and wellbeing of our animals. It is important that producers know how to raise their cattle humanely and that consumers can be certain that this has taken place. A standardized program like Certified Humane ensures that these needs are met.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love being outside working with cattle and developing the farm. I face many challenges every day and I thrive on finding solutions to these challenges, and learning from my mistakes. I love being around cattle. They all have different personalities and although I find the process of selling them difficult I know that I have given them the best life they could have.
Tell us about your cattle…
We mainly have Angus steers, and some heifers. We also have 500 Angus breeder cows. We source our cattle from Tasmania and mainland Australia. We buy them from 200 kg to 450 kgs and we sell them approx. after 12 months when weigh around 270-320 kgs dressed weight. While the cattle are on our property they out on 0.7-1.0 kg per day of grass.
What is your biggest challenge as a farmer?
Balancing work and family life is very challenging for me. Farming is unpredictable because of the livestock and often I have to work long days, weekends and holidays to make sure stock is properly cared for. When I am able to take time off I try to make this high quality family time.