To celebrate the 2012 Australian Year of the Farmer the Central West Catchment Management Authority, in partnership with Central West Landcare, will be showcasing some of our catchment’s most impressive examples of sustainable farming throughout the year.
The Year of the Farmer provides an ideal opportunity to recognise the great work our farmers do, tell some of their stories and share their experiences as they move toward an ecological approach to food and fibre production for our country.
“Our March Farmer of the Month is Norm Smith, the 2011 NSW Farmer of the Year. Norm runs a farming enterprise near Wellington and was awarded last year for his approach to grazing management and commitment to the wool industry, his business, family and the community,” Regional Landcare Facilitator, Danielle Littlewood said.
Norm and Pip Smith, with their five children, are fourth generation custodians of ‘Glenwood’, a 2800ha property 29 kilometres east of Wellington.
The property is the base for the ‘Glenwood’ Merino Stud established in 1929.
Mr Smith and his family run a self replacing flock of 1300 stud ewes and 4000 wethers over two properties. ‘Glenwood’ also supports trade cattle or agistment stock when necessary to manage paddock groundcover.
Twelve years ago the Smiths completed a holistic management course and began implementing planned grazing management.
Their approach is to match carrying capacity to stocking rate, maintain 100 per cent groundcover, increased perennials and plant diversity across the property.
Greater pasture diversity is encouraged through rotational grazing – short graze periods with long rest periods for his paddocks, on average 120 days rest.
“The grazing system we use means we need subdivision in our paddocks, and we’ve carried out a fair bit of fencing to get the number of paddocks that we believe we need,” Mr Smith said.
“Our aim is to subdivide to 40 paddocks for each enterprise.”
‘Glenwood’ is managed in a way that balances the needs of the environment, profit, family and community. Their goal is to improve the land and the livestock resource providing security, profit and lifestyle for themselves and for future generations.
A reluctant nominee, Mr Smith was put forward for NSW Farmer of the Year award by family, colleagues and friends.
Through the year, Mr Smith says he’s looking forward to helping more people see the opportunities in the wool industry.
“I think it’s an opportunity to showcase my passion about farming in general and in particular the wool industry,” he said.
“I want to show people what a great industry it is and to also get regenerative grazing and holistic grazing out there as an option.
“I’m very passionate about my sheep, the land and my family.
“Pip and I are very happy with our life and are living our passions”.
For more information on how Mr Smith manages his property ‘Glenwood’ to be sustainable and other examples of central west sustainable farming, or to find out how you can get involved to celebrate the Year of the Farmer visit www.cw.cma.nsw.gov.au.