Filmmaker urges support for regenerative farms

Rachel Ward has a regenerative cattle farm in Taylors Arm which has recently begun selling her meat directly to the public to avoid supermarket price fixing pressures.

ACTRESS, filmmaker, and regenerative farmer Rachel Ward has spoken out about the difficulties faced by small beef farmers across the state.

Rachel owns a small farm at Taylors Arm in the Nambucca Valley, which she operates using regenerative practices to grow beef cattle.

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Rachel has been using her influence as a filmmaker to build a label for regenerative farmed beef, but is frustrated that the current system in Australia makes little to no-allowance for the different methods of raising cattle for sale.

She wants Australian consumers to realise the choice and impact they can have through their purchasing power in supporting small farming enterprises.

“All along the coast of NSW are small farms and if we don’t support them, then they will not be able to make a living and their land will be sold, replaced by large-scale industrial style farms.

“Industrial scale mass production when it comes to food and animals means lots of chemicals and a great cost to the environment,” Ward told NOTA.

“But here in the Valley, we have to send our cattle to the one place and the meat is all packaged the same whether it is from a feedlot where the cattle were fed grain for 100 days or raised on grass.

“Our margins are so small, the supermarkets are squeezing us and the market is really low,” she said of the current pressures on farmers like her using traditional channels to sell their environmentally responsible product.

Rachel maintains that farmers are aware of past mistakes and the ecological damage to waterways and the land which has occurred.

She said farmers have their part to play in looking after the land and the waterways of this country but consumers currently do not get told the difference between regeneratively farmed fully grass-fed beef and feedlot beef.

Rachel believes if people want to make a difference to the future of this country and the planet, supporting small local farmers is a great place to start.

She has recently made her meat available directly to the public and hopes other farmers can join her under her label or their own to give consumers the choice about what meat they buy.

“There is a choice, you will have better meat.”

One of the many benefits of grass-fed beef is the taste, she maintains.

“Side by side, in a taste-test, the difference between grass-fed and grain-fed beef is huge,” she explained.

There are also health benefits to consuming grass-fed beef, including higher levels of Omega 3.

As for the prices small farms can offer, Ms Ward said it was difficult to compete with large chain stores.

“Our margins are so small,” she said.

“We are being squeezed by the supermarkets who lower prices on meat but make their profits on other products.

We aren’t as dear as the butcher, but we can’t be as cheap as the supermarkets.”


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