Philosophy 1 – Value welfare profit over economic profit.
The welfare of the environment, remnant vegetation, endemic species, revegetation areas and the animals (domestic and environmental) on our farm is of paramount importance. The welfare of our community weighs upon our social consciousness.
This emphasises that management decisions are focused on environmental, welfare and social outcomes rather than ‘making a buck’.
Our farm will not be sustainable if we concentrate on financial decisions ahead of welfare issues. We have a wider ecosystem focus rather than a narrow enterprise focus. Chasing short-term outcomes demonstrates inefficient economics and has resulted in our strategic continuation of off-farm employment to fund our farm economy until our ecosystem evolves.
Eaglerise Farm pork on the run. No physical intervention in the pigs grazing ability. Our low stocking rate, based on our market requirements, means the pigs create less disturbance on the farm-scape and require lower feed inputs. Pork adds to our market enterprise diversity. It mainly supplies bacon, cabana type sausage and Christmas hams. Just enough to add some variety to our customers’ diets. Due to their destructive nature, we no longer breed the pigs. We rather buy a few at a time, (from an ethical, pastured breeder,) when we forecast surplus forage, eggs and vegetables for their feed. This creates a seasonal supply that is accepted by our customers.
After deliberating for more than 10 years, we decided to purchase a tractor. We selected a small 35Hp tractor to reduce the impact on climate change. This small tractor does all we need, perhaps a bit slower. Our market garden is designed to fit this small tractor. It does the work of a walk-behind tractor in less than half the time with much less labour. There is a beneficial balance between the 35Hp tractor and the 15Hp walk behind.
The only drawback to date is the tractor’s inability to handle large bales of hay and straw. Fortunately, our philosophies direct us away from using industrial energy to create these bales and/or purchasing them in any regular way.
What about Clyde the (not our) Kookaburra? Clyde was destined to be euthanised because of his injured wing. We rescued him and he is now our permanent house guest. He spends the sunny days outside and comes in by the fireplace when it gets cold. He will never fly and has questionable manners, but we accept that the car that knocked him was the result of human intervention, so human invention must take responsibility for his care. If he is hiding when outside, we simply play a recording of a kookaburra and Clyde answers!
Our social conscience dictates that we support local food for local people. We deliberately attend several farmers’ markets regardless of the time commitment and their immediate economic return. Without continual support, many markets will never survive long enough to attract their core number of customers to allow market longevity and continual high-quality food for locals.