Capella graziers among the first in line as Accredited Producers
Posted on October 23rd, 2014
With a long-held commitment to ongoing education and learning, Capella graziers Dan and Helen Sullivan of Capella have this week cemented their position as leaders in their field, receiving recognition as one of the first grazing businesses in the State to complete the Grazing BMP audit process.
With their sons Kurt and Glen, Dan and Helen run a significant grazing enterprise operation in the Capella/Tieri district including the 10,100 hectare “Talagai”, 8,000 hectare “Old Malvern”, 2,000 hectare “Humberstone”, 485 hectare “Cork” and 3,000 hectares of lease country.
“We have always felt as a business that it’s very important to undertake courses each year, to participate, learn new things and be prepared for change,” Mrs Sullivan said.
Undertaking the five Grazing BMP modules – Soil Health, Animal Health and Welfare, Grazing Management, People and Business and Animal Production – and the certification and audit process as a group, the Sullivan’s approached the process as a good thing for their business, their region and their industry.
“We saw the Grazing BMP modules as an important process for our business to see where we were at, but also a good thing for the industry to demonstrate that we are being proactive in land management and we are being proactive in environmental management,” she said.
“It’s easy for one person to do the modules and tick and flick, but we found as a group everyone takes away something different and it helped with discussion and making decisions for our business.
“The land management module in particular was beneficial, as although we’d already made the decision as a management team to move towards more intensive rotational grazing system, the modules confirmed and assisted us to head in that direction.
Undertaken 12 months after completing the modules, the Grazing BMP audit involved a desktop review of the Sullivan’s self-assessment evidence meeting 55 industry standards and a half-day on-farm audit of their grazing enterprises operations and procedures.
“To be honest, the audit did challenge us and when I got the criteria I thought, where do I start?”
“We found while we were doing most things well, we weren’t collating the information well.
“At times you need to refer to details of your properties so now we have all of that record-keeping in one place.
“The big thing about the audit, is that with so much legislation and knowledge required in our industry today on issues such as workplace health and safety, animal welfare and vegetation management, it challenges you to ask, if our operation doesn’t have the information it needs, where do I go to access that information?
And for the Sullivan’s who have an operation involving two grazing generations working together, they have also found the process beneficial for their transition and succession planning.
“Grazing BMP facilitates discussion and prompts the question about the future of our family in the industry.
“While we have done a lot of succession planning ourselves, Grazing BMP has been valuable to encourage discussion, is this where you want to be?
“By doing the modules the reality of a future in the grazing industry is right there in front of you.
Now, with recognition as Accredited Producers the Sullivan enterprise also includes a future with recognition as world leading land stewards and as leaders in the Queensland grazing industry.
Fitzroy Basin Association Inc. Grazing BMP Project Manager Peter Long said the Sullivan’s were one of only eleven grazing families now holding ‘Accredited Producer’ status in the industry.
“One of the key drivers of Grazing BMP is the fact that if there is a high adoption of Grazing BMP programs and practices in our industry, there will be less need for government regulation,” Mr Long said.
“We commend Dan and Helen Sullivan and their sons Kurt and Glen as well as the other ten grazing enterprises for their proactive and forward-thinking approach to working in the grazing industry today and encourage other producers to follow their lead,” he said.
Grazing BMP is a joint initiative of Fitzroy Basin Association Inc. (FBA), AgForce, the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) and North Queensland Dry Tropics and is delivered with significant investment from the Australian and Queensland Governments.
For more information about Grazing BMP programs in your area visit www.bmpgrazing or http://fba.org.au/for-graziers/ .