Our guest blogger today is young farmer Tim Eyes a great example of how you don’t have to own the farm to farm the farm
This is Tim’s story……
I live on my parent’s turf farm; whilst I run five cows of my own on the family farm and help out when I can I don’t farm turf for a living.
My story is an example of how young people can successfully farm without have to own the land
My name is Tim Eyes and I run Eyes Farm Contracting; a property management and consulting business based on the NSW Central Coast and Hunter Valley. I am lucky enough to be living my farming dream, which has always been to manage and work on beef cattle properties in the Australian Beef Industry.
The New South Wales Central Coast is known for its beaches and is an easy 1 hour drive north of Sydney. The equine industry is booming in the area, but there are still some pockets of prime land that are producing quality beef cattle. This is where Eyes Farm Contracting comes in.
As a young boy I always dreamed of being a farmer, but always envisioned that it would not be possible in my home town on the Central Coast. I attended primary school in an urban area, and was always ‘the country boy stuck on concrete’. Because of this, my parents gave me the opportunity to attend boarding school in year eight at Scots School in Bathurst. The school had an extensive farm and I was given the opportunity to oversee lambing and calving. This led to my heavy involvement into the school’s show teams in sheep and cattle taking me around the state to regional shows and Sydney Royal.
I truly fell in love with farming given the opportunity to immerse myself in agriculture whilst at school. After year 10, I left to attend Tocal Agricultural College, receiving dux of the college. Tocal was a very important to help me reach my career goal of working in agriculture. Tocal taught me the practical and theoretical skills to enter the agricultural industry with confidence.
While attending Tocal, I was well on the way to starting my own beef cattle herd, spending weekends establishing the infrastructure on my parents farm. I spent my work experience from Tocal in New Zealand on a property that farmed sheep, cattle, deer and a variety of crops. Another experience was at a large cropping farm at Burren Junction, NSW.
The view from my Tractor Cab in New Zealand
After completing my studies at Tocal, I received the inaugural Big Brother Movement Scholarship to spend two months in the UK studying. This really opened my eyes to a completely different industry; where cattle are kept in sheds for the majority of the year and lack of rain is far from a problem. I spent time at Genus in Wales, one of the most prestigious Bull genetic and semen collection facilities in the world. During this time, I helped collect seamen from the world’s most popular dairy bull, and other highly sought after beef bulls. My trip also led me to Scotland, where I got to show cattle, work with thousands of sheep, met HRH Princess Anne and have two of the most amazing months of my life, that not only taught me about agriculture but also about myself.
After coming home from the UK, I felt I was well equipped with a wealth of knowledge to start my career in Agriculture. I didn’t really know what the next step would be. Should I follow the majority of my friend’s and go out West to find work on a large scale farm?
Fortunately the answer was decided for me when I was asked to run a beef cattle farm only 5 minutes from home producing high quality Limousin cattle. This was not was well established farm and only required me to work 2 days a week. This led me to start Eyes Farm Contracting, a property management and consulting business.
The next opportunity for my business was to run a show team for Douglasdale Charolais Stud. This has since blossomed into a 3 days a week permanent role, where I am heavily involved with the raising of their stud cattle and quality commercial cattle herd. Their farming operation is currently spread over three farms, one on the Central Coast, the other two based around Dungog in the NSW Hunter Valley, all totalling 4000 hectares. Our cattle supply high quality grass fed beef to local butchers and one day a week involves taking cattle to the abattoir.
Other days are spent mustering, fencing, breaking in cattle, and attending to the show team and other stud cattle on the property. The Show Team has been highly successful, winning over 6 Supreme exhibits and countless first and champion prizes at local shows right along the East Coast.
I also manage a commercial Angus cattle farm, as well as conduct freelance property consultations and advising.
Winning Grand Champion Senior Bull, Maitland Show 2014
Being part of the local community is important to me and I am a member of my local fire brigade. This gives me a great opportunity to communicate and discuss with local farmers issues in their industry that are important to both them, their industry and the wider community.
Educating Farmers about bull selection at Tocal Field Day 2013
I am definitely a rural entrepreneur, finding many ways to diversify my family farm. I also run a small poultry business with my partner, Hannah, called ‘Eggs on Legs’, selling up to 50 laying hens a week. We are hoping to expand our business into providing free range eggs.
After fixing the pump
Despite being the direst continent Australian cattle farmers play a major role in feeding the world.
Australia produces only 4% of the world’s beef yet is the world’s third largest exporter exporting to over 100 countries
Many developing countries do not have the land or resources to produce enough protein to feed their populations and these countries rely on Australia for the import of beef and sheep meat products to meet their protein needs. Did you know that Australian beef and lamb is the major protein source used to make around six billion meals each year around the world?
I am very proud to be part of this important industry and my role in helping farmers adapt their farming practices to suit the soil and climate of their farms and the changing climate conditions.
See Tim’s Target 100 profile here
An awesome story! Well done Tim.